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Socioeconomic Differences and the Potential Role of Tribes in Young People's Food and Drink Purchasing Outside School at Lunchtime

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JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
DateAccepted/In press - 6 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 10 Jul 2019
Issue number14
Original languageEnglish


Socioeconomic deprivation has been linked to food consumption practices, but studies investigating the food environment around schools provide mixed findings. Peer influence and marketing cues are considered important influencers of young people's behaviors. This study used a tribal theory lens to investigate the factors affecting pupils' purchasing and consumption of food/drinks outside schools at lunchtime. A survey was conducted with 243 pupils from seven UK secondary schools of differing socioeconomic status (SES). A purchasing recall questionnaire (PRQ) was developed and administered online at the participating schools to capture food and drink purchasing, intake, and expenditure. No significant differences were found in terms of energy and nutrients consumed or food/drink expenditure between pupils from schools of lower and higher SES. Enjoyment of food shopping with friends was linked with higher food energy intake and spend. Higher susceptibility to peer influence was associated with greater influence from food advertising and endorsements. Without ignoring the impact that SES can have on young people's food choices, we suggest that tribal theory can be additionally used to understand pupils' eating behaviors and we present implications for social marketers and policy makers.

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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