Login
Copyright

Factors that Influence Dietary Choices: Gender, Culture & Other Issues

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Determining Your Nutritional Needs

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 A Unique Diet for You
  • 0:41 Gender and Diet
  • 3:18 Culture and Diet
  • 4:00 Age and Diet
  • 4:48 Other Factors…
  • 6:07 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
You are a unique person and therefore, the dietary choices you make should be well-suited to who you are and what you do. The factors that influence these choices will be the focus of this lesson.

A Unique Diet for You

You know that you are a unique person. There are so many things that set you apart from a huge chunk of people - age, gender, culture, athletic ability, and so much more. When combined, those differences create a truly unique person of which there is no other but you in this world.

I think that's pretty nifty. These differences are also important because they influence appropriate dietary choices. Just as an example you can certainly agree with, pregnant women have very different needs than your average male office worker. This, and so much more, will be touched on as we explore some of the many factors that influence dietary choices.

Gender and Diet

They say that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. In some respects, men and women think differently, act differently, and have varying needs even in the same situation! Dietary habits are not immune from this observation.

Let's think of some examples together using averages we know to be true. Women are smaller than men. This means women need fewer calories than men, meaning they need to eat less food. If an average woman was to consume the same amount of calories as the average man, she'd be more likely to gain weight - all else equal, of course.

But there's something very important here. There's a danger in consuming less food and thus, fewer calories willy-nilly. The right kind of food contains nutrients that go beyond just calories. There are vitamins and minerals within our food. That is why a woman should focus more on consuming nutrient-dense food, like complex carbohydrates, in order to ensure important vitamins and minerals are gained while still eating fewer calories than a man.

Think of it this way: A doughnut has a ton of calories, but is not very nutritious. A whole grain cereal may have the same amount, or even fewer calories than the doughnut, but is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Importantly, two nutrients, known as calcium and iron, are of special concern for women. Calcium is a mineral that helps to build strong bones and iron is a mineral that helps to form red blood cells. Calcium is necessary because women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that leads to fragile bones. Iron is important for menstruating women because it helps to avoid iron deficiency anemia. Anemia is a low red blood cell count.

But I don't want to leave out the guys here. Although men generally consume more food and thus are less likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies, there are still plenty of problems associated with this type of diet. Eating too much red meat is known to give guys a lot of trouble with their hearts and arteries. This predisposes a man to a heart attack.

Because some men eat a lot of food in general, even for their body size, obesity is a real risk, and this can lead to arthritis, diabetes, and, of course, heart disease. Thus, just like women, men need to focus on eating the right kinds of calories made up of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while holding back on grilling every type of meat known to man.

Culture and Diet

But dietary influences go beyond the battle of the sexes. Cultural differences are important to note. Some cultures and even religions emphasize a vegetarian or even vegan diet. A vegan diet refers to a diet that excludes meat and animal products, such as milk and eggs. Such cultural, religious, or purely personal dietary choices are fine so long as they are made with care and consideration. For instance, vegetarians need to seek out protein sources other than meat in order to stay healthy. This can include eggs, milk, tofu, beans, and so forth.

Age and Diet

In addition to culture and gender, age plays an important role in influencing dietary choices. As a person ages, certain dietary modifications may need to be taken. Since the elderly tend to move around less, they need to consume fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. Because their digestive system doesn't work as well as before, elderly people may need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12 and fiber.

Vitamin B12 is given because it's normally absorbed in the intestines, but this function may decline with age or disease. Fiber is given because elderly people are more likely to develop constipation and fiber helps to move the digestive content along the intestinal track a bit better.

Other Factors Influencing Dietary Choice

Finally, other select groups of people must keep in mind that they may need less or more of something than the general population. Let's take a look at three examples.

Athletes may need to consume more nutrients and calories in order to maintain a healthy weight in the face of burning off a lot of the food they eat through their exercise. Even more importantly, athletes need to make sure they are properly hydrated during practice or a game. This helps to regulate the body better and ensure proper function and the highest performance possible.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support