Perceived threat of unhealthy and unsafe eating behaviors in Iranian adolescent girls: A qualitative study

Authors

1 Associate Professor and Head of Health Education and Promotion, Research Center for Health Sciences, Institute of Health. Department of Health Promotion, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 PhD Candidate of Health Education and Promotion, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Department Of Health Education and Promotion, School Of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

3 Professor of Health Education and Promotion and Head of the Elderly Health Research Center, Department of the Elderly Health, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

4 Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Head of the Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

5 Professor of Biostatistics and Head of the Research Center of Prevention and Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Disease, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

Abstract

Abstract
Background
Perceived threat is particularly important in health-related behaviors. The aim of this study was to explain the perceived threat of unhealthy and unsafe eating behaviors in Iranian adolescent girls.
Materials and Methods
In this qualitative study, directed content analysis was used and participants were selected by purposeful sampling. Data were collected using focus groups and semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews with 60 girl students of the eighth grade who studied in the government schools of Shiraz City, Iran in 2019. Sampling continued until data saturation was achieved. Data were analyzed by Lundman and Graneheim method of content analysis.
Results
From the data analysis, five categories were drawn. Perceived susceptibility comprised of (1) disease risk-increasing factors and (2) disease risk-decreasing factors and perceived severity consisted of (3) individual, (4) familial, and (5) social consequences of the disease. The perceived susceptibility consisted of the subcategories, namely, biological susceptibility or body's protective mechanisms, individual behaviors, and risky or protective environmental factors for food and health safety. Perceived severity included the subcategories, namely, physical, mental, educational, and medical problems for the individual, psychosocial problems, and imposing heavy treatment costs on family, economic, and social problems for the community.

Conclusion
The perceived threat of unhealthy and unsafe eating behaviors in adolescents includes perceptions of disease risk increasing and disease risk-decreasing factors, as well as personal, familial, and social consequences following disease development. Understanding these perceptions can help adolescents engage in health-promoting eating behaviors.
Keywords
Adolescent, Eating behaviors, Perceived threat, Qualitative research.
Running title
Perceived threat of unhealthy and unsafe eating behaviors

Keywords