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Title: The relative association between the local food environment, psychosocial factors and dietary inequalities among mothers in Hampshire
Author: Vogel, Christina Augusta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 0545
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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The poor dietary behaviours of mothers with low educational attainment are of particular concern not only for their own health, but also for the short and long term health of their children. Better psychosocial attitudes towards healthy eating are known determinants of better dietary behaviours, but knowledge of local environmental factors and their interaction with individual determinants is more limited, particularly in the UK. This study addressed a gap in the literature by examining associations between the local food environment, individual factors and dietary behaviours, and determining whether these associations varied by level of educational attainment. 921 mothers with young children from Hampshire completed a cross-sectional survey about their dietary behaviours, demographic and psychosocial characteristics, and activity space locations. Novel measures characterised the in-store environment of mothers’ main food stores, density and variety of food outlets in mothers’ activity spaces, and the nutrition environment of mothers’ Sure Start Children’s Centres using observational and self-report data. A conceptual model predicting dietary behaviours of mothers with young children was tested using structural equation modelling. The results showed that the in-store environment of mothers’ main food stores was indirectly associated with dietary behaviour through psychological and perceived food affordability factors, with the latter a more important predictor among mothers with low educational attainment. The dietary behaviours of mothers with low educational attainment tended to vary in accordance with the quality of the environments they were exposed to. In contrast, the dietary quality of mothers with higher educational attainment showed less susceptibility to poorer local food environment exposures. These findings suggest that a multi-component intervention to improve the in-store environment of the least healthful supermarkets and mothers’ psychological and cost-related attitudes towards healthy eating could enhance the dietary behaviours of mothers and their families, particularly if the most disadvantaged families are targeted.
Supervisor: Baird, Janis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available