Relevance of Gender and Diversity (WP 2-9)

Gender and Diversity dimensions in enabling healthy food choices throughout life stages

“Well, I’m happy, well ok, I’d like to be skinnier”[1] – that is what a young guy joining one of our group discussions told us. So, what kind of nutrition principles are young men pursuing? Why do we have malnutrition in western industrial countries, e.g. concerning elder people and very young women? How do concepts of self-optimisation work in terms of food consumption by male and female employees? These are some of the open questions we seek to answer because individual nutrition behaviour does not only base on genetics. Furthermore, it is also a cultural and social matter, as research suggests [1]: Reactions of others [2, 3], negative emotional experiences [4] and gender stereotyping [5] are affecting our nutrition behaviour and daily practice. Previous information and publicity campaigns solely did not happen to change attitudes - even if our own health is endangered. What kind of cultural and social effects are influencing us during the course of a lifetime? How is resilience in case of sustainable behavioural change explainable and to overcome?

This research project aims at finding socio-cultural based explanations for the nutritional behaviour of different age groups (adolescents, middle aged and elderly people), in particular gender-specific motives and other relevant references (e.g. culture, education, professional background). The prospected knowledge should enhance the gender and diversity sensitive product development and information campaigns for new healthy product ranges. With the mixed methods of biographic interviews and group discussions relevant issues for specific groups are identified, as well as attitudes, motives, opinions and motivations to the topic are elicited.

Objectives:

There are three main objectives for the project:

  1. What are individual motives for resilience and change in nutrition behaviour?
  2. What are relevant gender and diversity factors to influence individual behaviour change?
  3. What are effective nutrition policies and campaigns?

Expected outcomes are the exploitation of knowledge about gender and diversity dimensions and their relevance in nutrition decisions (resilience and change), new gender and diversity sensitive campaigns for innovative products and healthy foods, acceptance of the products in diverse age groups, improved identification and supply of different risk groups and appropriate delivery formats.

References:

[1] Setzwein, M. (2009): Frauenessen - Männeressen? Doing Gender und Essverhalten. In: Kolip, P./ Altgeld, T. (Hrsg.): Geschlechtergerechte Gesundheitsförderung und Prävention. Weinheim, München: Juventa. S. 41-60

[2] Striegel-Moore, R.H. et al. (2002): Abuse, bullying and discrimination as risk factors for binge eating disorder. In: American Journal of Psychiatry, 159 (11). S. 1902-1907

[3] Steiner, H. et al. (2003): Risk and protective factors for juvenile eating disorders. In: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 12 (1). S. 38-46

[4] Reich, G. (2008): Ess-Störungen - Einflüsse der Peergroup. In: Klein, M. (Hrsg.): Kinder und Suchtgefahren. Stuttgart: Schattauer. S. 200-206

[5] Wilk, N. M. (2013): Vom „Curryking“ zum „LadyKracher“. In: GENDER – Zeitschrift für Geschlecht, Kultur und Gesellschaft, 5(1). S. 120-128


[1] Original in German: „Also ich bin zufrieden, also, ja, ich möchte halt schon dünner sein“

Coordinating Investigator

Prof. Dr. Susanne Ihsen

Technische Universität München
TUM School of Education
Gender Studies in Ingenieurwissenschaften

Tel.:    +49 (0) 89 28922936
Email: ihsen[at]tum.de

Co-Investigators

Sabine Härtl

Technische Universität München
Gender Studies in Ingenieurwissenschaften

Tel.: +49 (0)89 289 22916
Email: sabine.haertl[at]tum.de

Partner

Prof. Dr. Jutta Roosen

Technische Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Marketing und Konsumforschung

Email: JRoosen[at]tum.de