Why Do Women Eat Healthier Than Men?

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(JAY DIRECTO/AFP/GettyImages)

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Men are less likely than women to eat their vegetables. And it seems science might have the answer.

A new study published last month in the research journal Appetite reports that men don’t believe fruit and vegetables are actually important to their diet. While women believe eating their fruits and veggies will make them look younger and keep them living longer, men had “less favorable attitudes” towards eating their daily servings of the vitamin-enriched foods.

Study researcher, John A. Updegraff, an associate professor of social and health psychology at Kent State University in Ohio, looked at the psychology behind how men and women choose their food, specifically the link between eating healthy and what people believe.

Updegraff gathered 3,4000 people back in 2007 and looked at three reasons why men and women should be motivated to eat nutritious foods. He looked at their “attitudes toward fruit and vegetables, their feeling of control over their diet and their awareness that other people want them to improve their diet.”

The study found that men “feel less confident” in their ability to eat healthy foods specifically when they are at work or sitting in front of the television. It’s true you don’t see many men chompin’ down on carrot sticks while watching football on Sundays. Women, on the other hand, believed they would be able to choose a healthy snack even if they were around people eating junk food.

Peer pressure was one thing that didn’t seem to sway either sex when it came to eating healthier. The study even reports that men are more likely to receive pressure from those around them about eating their leafy greens, but were less likely to consume them if they felt as if they were being nagged to do so.

In the end, Updegraff believes in order to get men to eat healthier they need to be educated about the real benefits of changing their diet. He also suggests that men are shown nutritious alternatives to take the place of their greasy, salty or sugary snacks.

What are some of your favorite healthy alternatives for a night in front of the television?

- Shannon Carlin, CBS Local


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