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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Barriers to healthy nutrition: perceptions and experiences of Iranian women

Maryam Farahmand1, Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani1, Parisa Amiri2* and Fereidoun Azizi3

Author Affiliations

1 Reproductive Endocrinology Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Obesity Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box: 19395-4763, Tehran, Iran

3 Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1064  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1064

Published: 10 December 2012

Abstract

Background

A sound understanding of community perceptions and experiences regarding barriers to a healthy diet is a prerequisite for the design of effective interventions aimed at prevention of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This study focused on exploring barriers to healthy nutrition as experienced by women participating in the Tehran Lipid Glucose Study (TLGS).

Methods

A grounded theory approach was used for analyzing the participants’ experiences and their perceptions regarding these barriers. Data collection was conducted through sixteen semi-structured focus group discussions, between 2008 and 2009. Participants were 102 women, aged 25-65 years, selected and recruited from the TGLS cohort. All interviews and focus group discussions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Constant comparative analysis of the data was conducted manually according to the Strauss and Corbin analysis method.

Results

The study revealed that the most important barriers to healthy nutrition were: 1) Interpersonal/cultural effects, 2) Lack of access to healthy foods, and 3) Food preferences.

Conclusions

Understanding these barriers might contribute to existing literature by providing evidence from a different culture, and help design effective preventive strategies, and implement appropriate interventions among Tehranian families.

Keywords:
Healthy nutrition; Barriers; Qualitative study; Non-communicable diseases