Eating habits — still a class issue

I takt med att hyllorna i mataffären fylls på med hälsosamma alternativ, svalnar diskussionen om matvanor. Men vi borde ändå fundera på varför vissa människor hamnar i en ond spiral av billig och lättillgänglig mat, medan andra frossar i hälsosamma recept och tar sig tiden att laga mat. Frida Westergård kliver ur sin matbubbla och synar sakernas tillstånd.

15 November 2019 •

Just like fil­ter bub­bles, where you are main­ly recieves news and infor­ma­tion like those you are inter­est­ed in, sta­tus and class seem to form food bub­bles, that sim­ply reflects socio-eco­nom­ic differences.

Time for enjoyment and healthy choices

In my food bub­ble every­one eats con­scious­ly. The inter­est in diet and health ibues every choice of food.

Cooking healthy food is a time you take. And eat­ing semi-man­u­fac­tured or junk food is also an extreme­ly con­scious choice, per­haps some­thing you treat your­selves with every now and then. No mat­ter what you put in your mouth, there is a thought behind it.

In the same way, many with me have time to lose them­selves in food poorn; that is to set aside a moment to read lux­u­ri­ous food mag­a­zines and health blogs.

And we take the time to stroll in the gro­cery store and review con­tent declarations.

In my bub­ble it is easy to for­get that not every­one has the same time or inter­est in food.

Creates a cravings and is the cheapest of all

In anoth­er bub­ble, fast food, as a meal at McDonald’s, is not some­thing that you very con­scious indulge your­selves with every now and then, but a fast and cheap meal.

The fast food attracts with fla­vors that are not easy to imi­tate at home in your own cook­ing. Especially not if you lack mon­ey, time or interest.

In addi­tion, fast food increase the crav­ing for even more fast food. An Australian study shows that rats stop eat­ing healthy food once they get used to fast food.

Fast food cre­ates a spi­ral with increas­ing crav­ings for fast food.

A down­ward spi­ral, we say in my bub­ble. For the cheap­est fast food is often nutri­ent-poor junk food — stuffed with sug­ar, fat and salt.

Education determines eating habits

The con­scious food bub­ble and the fast food bub­ble illus­trate how seg­re­gat­ed food has become. It sounds crass, but is a reality.

In a study from the Swedish Food Agency, Irene Mattisson writes:

The dif­fer­ences between social class­es lies in the qual­i­ty of the food one can afford to buy.

The study also shows that edu­ca­tion lev­el is one of the fac­tors that play into people’s eat­ing habits. Likewise their par­ents’. It is fore­most the mother’s edu­ca­tion that affects the child’s eat­ing habits.

Differences increase

A report from the Public Health Agency of Sweden shows that the pub­lic health in Sweden is good and has improved. But it also con­firms the image of inequal­i­ty in the eat­ing habits of socio-eco­nom­ic groups: A per­son with a longer edu­ca­tion eats more health­ily than a per­son with a short­er edu­ca­tion. But the most omi­nous thing is that inequal­i­ty is increasing.

Social change for the sake of public health

Changing eat­ing habits is not a mat­ter at the indi­vid­ual lev­el. Not only. Change also requires mea­sures at the soci­etal lev­el, such as equal­iz­ing dif­fer­ences between dif­fer­ent socio-eco­nom­ic groups.

Above all, we must stop think­ing and talk­ing about food as a choice one make one­self. It is to sim­pli­fy the real­i­ty, because people’s eat­ing habits are found­ed long before they are born.

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