Food practices among adolescents in German residential care. Findings from a quantitative survey

Jenny Markert, Max Herke, Sabine Kühn, Karl Healy, Matthias Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Food is of great importance for socialization. So far, there are few quantitative studies analysing food practices in residential care. The aim of this paper was to describe individual food practices in these homes. Associations with sociodemographic and home-related characteristics as well as attitudes towards food were examined to identify differences between adolescents following different food practices. 400 young people aged between 12 and 21 years living in 67 residential care homes in Germany completed a standardized questionnaire. Food practices were operationalized by questions on the regularity of meals, company at meals and the eating location. Cluster analysis for types of food practices were conducted. Differences by home-related and sociodemographic characteristics as well as attitudes towards food were tested by logistic regression analyses. Two types of food practices were identified which differed regarding to age, duration of stay, and the importance as well as impact of eating on well-being: the independents (29%) and the embedded (71%). In comparison to the embedded, the independents ate fewer regular meals and eat in the homes less often, but more often alone. Furthermore, the independents were older, give less meaning to food and have more money available for food. Age was found to be an important variable that indicated increasing independence of adolescents. Food practices should therefore be discussed and reflected pedagogically in the care homes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106397
JournalAppetite
Volume181
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Cluster analysis
  • Eating practices
  • Food practices
  • Food types
  • Young people

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