Social and Environmental Determinants of Eating Behaviors

Like physical activity, healthy eating comprises a complex set of behaviors that are challenging to measure. A detailed discussion of eating behavior assessment is provided in Chapter 4, but is described briefly here. A key consideration in dietary assessment is that there are many different elements of eating behavior that can be measured, including overall diet, patterns of food intake, consumption of specific foods, dietary habits, and nutrient intakes. It is therefore essential that a clear research question with a well-defined focus is established to assist in the selection of an appropriate assessment tool. Assessments of eating behaviors are generally conducted via self-report and involve either recording of intake (e.g., weekly food diary) or recalling intake, retrospectively (e.g., 24-h food recalls or recall of intake via food frequency questionnaires). Both methods have strengths and limitations, and there is currently no "gold standard" assessment tool.

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