Influencing Factors for Eating Behavior in Adolescent Population UK


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Introduction to the Factors

Eating behaviour or habits of adolescents are changing day by day due to changes in lifestyle and different other attributes. Frequent changes in eating behaviour have a positive and negative impact on the physical and mental health of teenagers (Rosen, 2013). It is one of the major health issues in the UK. So, the author wants to determine different factors that can influence the eating behaviour of teenagers in the UK. Regarding this, the author will follow a systematic process that includes a literature review, research methodology, and data analysis. It will help in resolving research issues and attaining all objectives in an effective manner.

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Research methodology with justification

1. Research philosophy

Research philosophy has defined the assumptions of the researcher to understand the research problems. It has provided a border framework for investigators of investigations and included various hypotheses (Ponterotto, 2005). It has two types: interpretivism and positivism. In positivism, the outcomes of an investigation have been identified with the help of statistical methods. In this philosophy, the objectives of the research have to be to collect the data and generate the outcomes with the intention of achieving the research objectives and aim (Broad, 2014). On the other hand, in the case of interpretivism, the various beliefs developed by the investigator justify the reasons for conducting the research. The aim of the following research is to analyse the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK (Knobe and Nichols, 2013). For this, the researcher has selected positivism as the research philosophy because it has helped the scholar get more information about the nature of teenagers towards eating behaviour.

2. Research Design

Research design is a kind of strategy used by a researcher to interlink the different elements of research in logical form (Creswell, 2012). For this, it has been necessary to understand the investigation issue in the right manner. Descriptive and exploratory are the two types of research designs. A descriptive framework is used to represent those factors that are directly linked to the research. The structure of such a type of investigation is more structured as compared to exploratory (Creswell, 2013). On the other side, exploratory research design has been followed in that case when it is difficult to understand the research problem. The current investigation is related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK (Maxwell, 2012). The research has been chosen as a descriptive research design because it has helped the scholar understand the various kinds of eating behaviours of teenagers and their impacts on health.

3. Research approach

A research approach is a method of generating a new theory or hypothesis that increases the investigator's understanding of the research. Inductive and deductive research approaches are two kinds of research approaches. A deductive framework has used existing hypotheses to evaluate the research problem (Kress and Shoffner, 2007). The quantitative research method has been used to test already-developed theories. But, in an inductive research approach, the researcher has developed new hypotheses on the basis of available information. Under this method, the investigator has used qualitative research techniques to collect the data. In the case of the present research, the scholar has selected an inductive research design (Obenour, Patterson, et al., 2006). The reason for selecting this framework is to evolve the theories related to the eating behaviour of adolescents and the factors associated with it.

4. Research strategy

Research strategy is a kind of framework that provides a logical approach for gaining information about a research problem (Clarke, Dede, Ketelhut, et al., 2006). Quantitative and qualitative methods are part of the research strategy. The present research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK. In this regard, the investigator has been selected for both qualitative and quantitative research strategies. The qualitative method has delivered information regarding factors influencing the eating behaviour of adolescents in London, UK (Tunis, 2005). Along with this, a quantitative research strategy has been used to investigate the observable phenomenon, which helped in achieving the expected outcomes and meeting the objectives of the research in the right manner.

5. Data Collection Method

The data collection method is used to gather information from diversified sources with the purpose of achieving the objectives and aim of the investigation in an appropriate manner. There are two methods of data collection: primary and secondary (De Leeuw, 2005). Primary data collection has been done by the investigator itself without adopting any kind of statistical method. The sources that can be used by researchers for primary data collection are interviews, observation, discussion, surveys, etc. Aside from this, secondary data collection techniques differ from primary data gathering techniques. Under this method, the scholar has collected the information that has already been done by other researchers in the past (Yu, De Courten, et al., 2009). The information sources for second-rate data collection are newspapers, previous research, articles, e-books, etc. The following research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK. In this context, both primary and secondary data collection methods have been selected by researchers to learn about the eating habits and factors influencing the eating behaviour of adolescents. For collecting primary information, the researcher has prepared a questionnaire that has been filled out by parents of adolescents in London, UK (Thornicroft, 2012). Along with this, for gathering secondary information, the investigator has selected various sources of information, such as past research, articles, books, journals, government sources of information, etc.

6. Sampling

Sampling is the technique of selecting a number of respondents from the present population at the time of collecting the data. Probabilistic and non-probabilistic are two types of sampling. The present research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK (Cochran, 2007). A non-probabilistic sampling technique has been selected by the researcher while choosing the parents of teenagers for the survey. Along with this, convenience sampling has also been picked by scholars for selecting those who are participating in research. The sample population for conducting the investigation has been the parent population of London, UK, and it has included both males and females (Lohr, 2009). The sample size for present research is 40.

7. Data analysis

Data analysis is the technique of applying different types of statistical and logical methods of evaluating the collected data. It has not only answered the research questions but also provided guidance to investigators about the gathering of information and data from diversified resources (Hair, Black, et al., 2006). With the help of numerous data analysis techniques, the researcher has been able to transform the data into knowledge as well as show the relationship between the different elements of investigation (Agresti and Kateri, 2011). There are two methods of data analysis: thematic and statistical techniques. Under the thematic approach, the research has developed some themes on the basis of the prepared questionnaire. With this help, the responses of respondents can be easily evaluated. On the other hand, statistical techniques have been used to evaluate the collected numerical data base and reach a new conclusion. The current research is based on factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK (Bendat and Piersol, 2011). For this, the researcher has selected a statistical technique where the SPSS tool has been used for analysing quantitative data in a right and accurate manner.

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Ethical consideration

Ethical consideration is playing an important role in research because it has provided a complete new direction to the investigation. The present research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK. In this regard, the major ethical considerations are as follows:.

Security and privacy of information: During the research, the scholar collected data from parents of adolescents in London, UK. At this time, many of the respondents have refused to give their personal information because they fear that it may be used for personal benefits or another purpose (Khanlou and Peter, 2005). To overcome this situation, the investigator has given assurance to respondents that their personal information will not be leaked and will not be used for personal benefits. It must be safe and confidential, as well as not shared with external or third parties.

Prior approval: At the time of research, the scholar was required to get information from government sources about factors affecting the eating behaviour of adolescents in the UK. For this, the researcher has obtained prior approval from the London Government to avoid any kind of controversial situation (Miller, Birch, Mauthner, and Jessop, 2012). Along with this, the scholar has given assurance to keep the information secure and safe.

Provide a citation to the work of research: During the investigation, the researcher has faced plagiarism issues. To reduce the chances of a copy-and-paste situation, the researcher has been provided with a citation of the work (Pepper and Wildy, 2009).

Research limitation

Every type of research has some limitations, and this has created issues for researchers while conducting the investigation. The following research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK. In this situation, there are some research limitations, which are as follows:.

Time-consuming: The present research has taken a very long time to complete because lots of activities have been carried out by the investigator. Therefore, for this, the researcher has used a time-based method where a Gantt chart has been developed to divide the time durations for all activities (Denscombe, 2014).

Sampling error: The researcher has selected a non-probabilistic sampling method to meet the objectives and aim of the investigation. But the researcher is not sure if every parent has been included in the research or not. It has created a sampling error that may affect the entire research work (Flick, 2009). To solve this issue, the scholar has given a unique code number to all respondents and ensured that parents in the UK have taken part in the investigation.

Lack of secondary information: the present research has been related to analysing the factors influencing the eating behaviour of the adolescent population in the UK. The researcher has faced limitations regarding a lack of secondary information. There are a smaller number of previous research studies and journals available on the internet (Ponterotto, 2005). To resolve this issue, the investigator has adopted the primary data collection method to make the research more effective.

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Factors influencing eating behaviour

Michels et al. (2012, have concluded that the eating behaviour of adolescents is influenced by various factors, which include parental care, food availability, preferences of food, price, social and cultural beliefs, image of the body, and many more".

According to the investigations of the various authors, it has been determined that it is a very difficult task to determine the factors influencing the eating behaviour of UK teenagers. The various investigators have their own views on the factors that are influencing the eating behaviour of UK adolescents. These factors, along with the views of researchers, are explained below.

1. Age, Income, and Race:

Keeland Forney (2013, has found that "the eating behaviour of teenagers is influenced by their age, income, and race.” (Keeland Forney, 2013). With respect to this statement, Jessor (2013, has identified in his research that “at the age of 14-18, female teenagers start consuming soda more as compared to fruits and dairy products” (Jessor, 2013). In continuing to explain it, he further explains that the quality of diets decreases from childhood to adolescence, which results in the development of various diseases and disorders. On the other hand, Bulik et al. (2014, have given more emphasis to income and stated that "families with good income provide quality food to their children, which includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.” (Bulik et al., 2014). In context to the race and ethical groups, DiClemente, Hansen, and Ponton (2013, have explained that “white teenagers consume whole grains and total grains more, whereas black teenagers consume green leafy vegetables." (DiClemente, Hansen, and Ponton, 2013).

2. Personal Factors:

Adriaanse, de Ridder, and Evers (2011, assert that “eating behaviour is influenced by personal factors of the teenagers, which include their attitude, beliefs, food preferences, self-efficacy, and biological changes” (Adriaanse, de Ridder, and Evers, 2011). In context to this, Young et al. (2013, have demonstrated that “adolescents need to eat meals early in the morning in the form of breakfast to improve their diet” (Young et al., 2013). By giving more emphasis to food preferences, Ferreiro, Seoane, and Senra (2011, has concluded that "the food preferences of teenagers depend upon its quality, taste, pleasure, and satisfaction. Among all of these, taste plays the most important role in deciding the food items as it increases the frequency of eating particular foods” (Ferreiro, Seoane, and Senra, 2011).

3. Economic Factors:

Elbel, Gyamfi, and Kersh (2011, assert that “economic factors such as price, quality of food, brand name, and special offers affect the eating behaviour of eenagers." (Elbel, Gyamfi, and Kersh, 2011). As per this statement, Keeland Forney (2013, has concluded that “adolescents like to purchase food items that have some offers or discounts. They do not prefer the quality of food at the time of special offers” (Keeland Forney, 2013). On the other hand, Bulik et al. (2014, have suggested that "the weight factor plays a crucial role among the adolescents of the UK during the time of buying any food item” (Bulik et al., 2014). Similarly, Coates, Petersen, and Perry (2013, have said that “teenagers in the UK like to eat fast food more due to its low price” (Coates, Petersen, and Perry, 2013). Contrary to this statement, Strasburger (2011, has argued that “some of the UK teenagers do not like to visit hotels, restaurants, etc. due to the high rates of milk, fruits, and salads. They like to eat them at home with family” (Strasburger, 2011).

4. Environmental Factors:

Story and Stang (2016, have stated that “environmental factors such as families, friends, peers, fast food outlets, social and cultural beliefs, schools, and neighbours also play an essential role in influencing teenagers” (Story and Stang, 2016). With respect to this, Paul et al. (2014) concluded that “the environmental factors are divided into two parts: micro-environmental (such as food trends, cultural groups, school meals, etc.) and immediate social environment (such as family, parenting practices, etc.)" (Paul et al., 2014). Covey (2011, has demonstrated that “attractive food outlets at the time of any occasion or activities in schools encourage teenagers to buy those food products” (Covey, 2011). Similarly, van't Riet et al. (2011, have said that “the food items used by schools, colleges, and other communities are of poor quality, which affects the health of teenagers." (van't Riet et al., 2011). On the other hand, Jessor (2013, has concluded that “meals with parents and other family members result in improving the eating habits of immature teenagers” (Jessor, 2013). In favour of this, Boyland and alford (22013, have explained that “eating in the presence of parents results in a nutritious and high-quality diet that impacts positively on the development of their children” (Boyland and Halford, 2013).

Ways for improving eating behaviour

It is important to improve the eating habits of teenagers for a healthy diet and proper development. In context to this, Michels et al. (2012, have said that “adolescents in the UK take sandwiches, cheese, fruits, crackers, and leftovers in their breakfasts, which keep them healthy and energetic” (Michels et al., 2012). Similarly, Adriaanse, de Ridder, and Evers (2011, have identified that “parents can teach adolescents to cook simple and nutritious snacks and meals at the time of eating alone so that they cannot buy any unhealthy food products” (Adriaanse, de Ridder,. and Evers, 2011). Along with this, Elbel, Gyamfi, and Kersh (2011, have said that “it is also essential for parents to teach their children about the quality of food so that they can make wise choices when purchasing foods from stores or eating at fast food restaurants” (Elbel, Gyamfi, and Kersh, 2011). In addition to this, he further stated that a mother can explain the type and quality of food products by using appropriate examples (The positive influence of family meals on children's food choices, 2016).

In opposition to the above statements, DiClemente, Hansen, and Ponton (2013, have said that “government and local politicians should limit the building of fast food stores and restaurants close to schools and other serving centres” (DiClemente, Hansen, and Ponton, 2013). Similarly, Kaplan and Garfinkel (2013, has stated that "the government can run various campaigns to encourage parents and teachers to improve the eating habits of teenagers by using various means" (Kaplan and Garfinkel, 2013).

The reason behind conducting a literature review on the eating habits of adolescents is to find out the appropriate factors that are influencing their health. Through this, researchers can find out the types of positive and negative impacts of eating habits on the health of teenagers.

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It is concluded from the above investigation that eating behaviour plays an essential role in the development of eenagers. Through this study, researchers focus on the different types of eating behaviours, factors influencing the eating habits of dolescents,  and appropriate recommendations for improving them.


  • Adriaanse, M.A., de Ridder, D.T., and Evers, C., 2011. Emotional eating: eating when emotional or emotional about eating?. Psychology and health.
  • Agresti, A., and Kateri, M., 2011. Categorical data analysis. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  • Bendat, J.S., and Piersol, A.G., 2011. Random data: analysis and measurement procedures. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Benowitz-Fredericks, C.A., et al., 2012. Body image, eating disorders, and the relationship to adolescent media use. Paediatric Clinics of North America.
  • Boyland, E.J., and Halford, J.C., 2013. Television advertising and branding. Effects on eating behaviour and food preferences in children.
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