An action research study using photovoice: College students' perceptions of eating habits during childhood
The family unit influences a child’s development along with his or her external surroundings. These interactions have an impact on subsequent behaviors during the child’s life. Connectivity of family members, including roles in meal planning, grocery purchases, and meal preparation, directly impresses upon the eating habits of children. The purpose of this research was to provide a greater understanding of consumption habits of college students from a developmental perspective. Qualitative action research was conducted using group and individual childhood questions, and PhotoVoice technology. PhotoVoice was used as a visual, verbal, and analytic tool for college student participants to illustrate obstacles to healthy eating. Results indicated that during childhood the participants were influenced by family dynamics of meal planning, parental food selection, and socializing factors related to peer interaction. Subsequently in college, results revealed factors including availability of healthy options, time, finances, resources, and access impacted the students’ eating habits. This study acted to identify information in two areas. The first was childhood eating habit development from group and individual interviews. The second area focused on obstacles to healthy eating as college students. This also addressed students’ cognitions about their food options on and off campus. Findings indicated students would prefer healthier food and drink options. Students in this sample indicated a desire for food that is of better quality and easier access to better meal options.