Gender perspectives on adolescents' eating behaviors: A study on the gender differences in body weight perception and the eating habits of junior secondary students in Hong Kong

Wai Ling Theresa LAI-YEUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

In a recent survey conducted among Home Economics teachers (n=180) teaching in secondary schools in Hong Kong, 80% (145) of the respondents concurred that it is difficult to achieve the objective of developing students’ healthy eating habits and skills in wise food choice through the school curriculum. One of the major factors leading to the difficulty defined by these teachers was that although students have acquired basic food knowledge and learnt about healthy eating, many of them were not able to put theory into practices. Above and beyond influences by the family and social eating culture as well as the mass media, health concerns seem too remote and distant for the students. They just could not imagine how the health risks caused by bad eating habits would impact their living in the long run. With reference to such findings, a questionnaire survey (n=836) was conducted to look into the students’ attitudes in relation to healthy eating. Special attention was placed upon gender differences to help identify needs and expectations with a view to explore ways to improve their eating habits. This study investigates the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of junior secondary students in Hong Kong in relation to food and healthy eating. Relevant practices including their eating habits and mastery of cooking skills were assessed; and their perceptions and satisfaction with body weight were examined. Impact of peers and the mass media were also considered. Results obtained were compared by gender and the relationship between the various factors which contribute to their perception and habits were discussed. This paper begins with a general review on the current situation in Hong Kong. A questionnaire survey on the students’ general eating habits as well as their attitude concerning food and healthy eating is then reported. Gender differences in eating behaviours are defined and problems in relation to development of healthy eating are identified. Finally, relevant recommendations will be made for teachers’ and stakeholders’ reference to help achieve the ultimate goal of developing lifelong healthy eating habits in young people.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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eating habits
body weight
eating behavior
gender-specific factors
Hong Kong
adolescent
gender
food
student
mass media
teacher
home economics
questionnaire
health risk
habits
secondary school
stakeholder
curriculum
Teaching
health

Citation

Lai Yeung, T. (2006). Gender perspectives on adolescents' eating behaviors: A study on the gender differences in body weight perception and the eating habits of junior secondary students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at Challenges and Possibilities in Gender Equity Education: The Second International Conference in the Asia-Pacific Region, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

Keywords

  • Teacher Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning