Real men do not read labels: the effects of masculinity and involvement on college students' food decisions

J Am Coll Health. Sep-Oct 2006;55(2):91-8. doi: 10.3200/JACH.55.2.91-98.


Consumer literature shows that a decision's degree of personal importance and relevance--one's level of involvement in the decision--indicates which type of intervention strategy will be effective in influencing consumers' choices. The authors surveyed 358 college students at a state university in the western United States to test the applicability of involvement on issues of obesity and eating habits. They found food decisions to be of greater personal importance and relevance to female students than to their male counterparts. The results suggest that efforts to address levels of obesity and being overweight among male college students must recognize that men's food choices are very much rooted in the ideology of what it means to be female and male in contemporary American society. The authors advance 5 peripheral-route intervention strategies to augment existing cognitive-oriented, information-based intervention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • United States
  • Universities*