Calls to adopt a healthier diet are a key part of current health policies. Argues, however, that what people eat is more than a matter of nutritional value. While economic constraints are vital in determining food choice, we need also to take account of the social and cultural meanings of food and eating. Food is an important marker of identity at many different levels: national, regional, familial and individual. For the individual, gender, class and ethnicity also define the parameters within which choices are made. Popular concepts about what is healthy or good are similarly important. While health policies tell people what they should eat, any attempt to change people′s diet requires an understanding of these complex factors that govern food choice.
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