Understanding healthful eating from a salutogenic perspective


When applied to nutrition research, the underlying assumption is that healthful eating supports physical health and prevents disease. This view tends to ignore the social-contextual dimension of eating. The biomedical model has led to an advancement of knowledge regarding nutritional risk factors. This research brought forth new knowledge of factors that enable healthful eating in the context of everyday life through cross-sectional survey research and interviews with Dutch adults. We found that healthful eating results from: 1) balance and stability (giving meaning to eating as an integral part of life, comprehending its importance to oneself, and having competencies to manage its organization in everyday life); 2) sense of agency (feeling in control of one’s eating and life in general); and 3) sensitivity to the dynamics of everyday life (confidence that one can deal with and navigate through everyday challenging situations).