Barriers to healthy eating amongst men: a qualitative analysis

Soc Sci Med. 2006 Jan;62(2):387-95. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.032. Epub 2005 Jul 11.


Currently, little is known about the meanings men attach to food or to the links between food and health. The burgeoning literature on men's health highlights forms of masculinity (e.g. risk-taking, invulnerability) as a factor (negatively) influencing men's health practices. The aim of this study was to provide an analysis of men's accounts of food and health using concepts pertaining to masculinity. We report on a qualitative analysis of a dataset comprising 24 interviews with UK men from a range of age and social class groups. Our findings suggest two principal barriers to healthy eating in men: cynicism about government health messages and a rejection of healthy food on grounds of poor taste and inability to satisfy. These findings are discussed in relation to masculine ideals such as rationality, autonomy and strength. The implications of our analysis for future research and men's health promotion policy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Gender Identity
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Men / education
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Risk-Taking
  • Stereotyping
  • United Kingdom