Hierarchy of Constraints

There is thus a large range of factors that influence human food choice. These are a complex blend of both positive and negative influences that either encourage or constrain our choice of particular foods as well as a combination of biological, psychological, economic, and social factors. These all operate in very different ways and on different aspects of this phenomenon called food choice. How can these be sorted into any kind of scheme or hierarchy to assess their relative importance in any particular context? Various composite models of food choice have been developed, but these often become so global as to be almost meaningless. Following Wheeler, one solution is to turn the issue on its head and start with an analysis of the factors that constrain or limit choice and so identify the range of choice open to an individual in any particular context and what determines this (Table 1).

The relative importance of particular influences or constraints will vary from one context to another and also with how they interact, but such a hierarchical framework allows identification of what the relevant factors may be in any given situation and their relative importance for any given individual and thus what degree of choice is actually available to them.

See also: Appetite: Physiological and Neurobiological Aspects; Psychobiological and Behavioral Aspects. Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa; Binge Eating. Energy: Balance; Adaptation. Hunger. Obesity: Definition, Etiology and Assessment. Religious Customs, Influence on Diet. Socio-economic Status.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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