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The Factors That Affect Eating Habits

There are a variety of factors that affect our eating habits.

Our food preferences begin when we are children, so our food choices are governed by our experiences with the food served to us by our parents – and how are parents (typically the mother) prepared that food, and how much they knew – and incorporated into the menu – about nutrition and health. (And once we started school, the food preferences of our parents were also overlaid with what was on the menu in the school cafeteria!) The influences of our peers at that young age can also not be denied.

Our food choices are also controlled by our personal preferences as far as flavor and texture are concerned, as well as our lifestyle, our health, and of course the economic factor.

Another factor affecting our eating habits is education. Typically, the more people know about nutrition, the more careful they are about what they eat.

One’s knowledge about nutrition may do little good, however, if one doesn’t have the money to purchase healthy food. Pre-packaged and frozen foods are typically less expensive than fresh food, and so are purchased most often by those who have neither the money nor the time to prepare daily meals themselves. (On the other hand, businesspeople who have to travel also have a hard time getting fresh cooked, healthy meals, as they dine out in restaurants on a regular basis, and may consume more alcohol than is healthy during social rituals.)

Our eating habits may be constrained by our health. Individuals with diabetes, for example, must follow a certain regimen regarding sweets, whereas people with heart problems need to avoid salt. (Those individuals who do not follow their dietary regimens generally don’t live to regret it.)

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Other factors include the convenience of food – stopping in at a fast food restaurant is so much easier and quicker than spending an hour or so cooking dinner, one’s sense of taste (adding salt to make food taste better can also add too much salt to the diet), and of course ever-present advertising on television or passing billboards that stimulate the appetite.

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