Fast food and fast judgement; an interview

annie_food-676x450Fast food and fast judgement by Epoch Times, 2015

Post five

By Marie Good

Recently I was able to conduct an interview with a class peer of mine who provided me with some interesting insights into the way she views Australia’s health an obesity status. My interviewee is from China and due to this, her knowledge of Australia’s status was based primarily on her relation and experience with an Asian lifestyle. At the end of the interview I was interested in her personal position in regards to her food intake, due to her knowledge and access to a culturally different society than myself.

We firstly discussed her view on Australia’s health and obesity status in general which she considered was quite healthy because of it’s access to organic produce and ability to produce and market it’s own, home-grown food. However, she thought there might be a problem in regards to our junk food saturated market. On pushing this further it was revealed the real reason she developed these views is because of the amount of red meat and fatty, cholesterol contributing processed foods Australia consumes compared Asia. She also touched on the increasing amount of alternate, labelled lifestyles popping up vigorously of modern times such as veganism and vegetarian, continuing to state, ‘for me, I am from Asia and people there like to eat more vegetables, grains and not so much red meat. As a result I think this is reflected in their weight.’

Her answer was very interesting and led me into asking what this statement meant for her stereotype of an unhealthy person, which she responded to as someone who is fat. I consider this quite an interesting take on society’s perception of what it means to be unhealthy. For example, when it comes to matters of the metabolism, which is the major consideration factor for the influence of fat distribution in our human biology, many people think slim people with a lower body mass index (BMI) are at less risk of developing health complications. This is a debatable topic in regards to body types, genetics and our body’s individuality in the matter.

We moved onto the area of what need to be changed in order to alter the way Australia is heading with fast food markets on the rise. My interviewee answered that current fast food companies need to consider making the change to using healthier ingredients. I suggested the idea of healthy fast food chains as an option to which she did not see much success in, commenting that, ‘such a fast change would not be successful, this is why we should try implementing small changes to the system and hope for the best.’

Throughout our discussion it was evident my interviewee’s knowledge of the obesity and healthy living topic was based on her own personal experiences. It made me view each individual as having almost an umbrella of knowledge, mostly only extending towards what they have personally accepted within their life circumstances.

I followed the interview by assigning a research probe activity to my interviewee with the following tasks:

  1. Keep a food diary for a day and record what you eat.
  2. Draw or write a list of healthy and unhealthy foods and write why you think this way.

The results from this probe task displayed a fairly low calorie yet heavily processed diet, with much noodles and low GI foods, however medium amounts of protein and fats to promote feelings on content and fullness. The list generated for both healthy and unhealthy foods mainly showed my interviewees knowledge of ‘healthy’ as being associated with vitamins and energy production whereas unhealthy was associated with traditional Chinese thoughts, particularly on cold drinks being bad for women, fast food, high amounts of oils and a lack of fresh quality. One area of insight from this probe task was seeing ‘cake’ and rice listed under healthy due to its ability to create energy. This clashes with ideas I hold towards cake and rice, as nutritionally, this energy is sourced from insulin release associated with large amounts of high GI carbohydrates (such as sugar, predominantly). It’s further pondered my thinking into why individuals view healthy lifestyles the way they do, the reasons behind it and the associations they make.

Five key points from both of these exercises to summarise my findings are:

  • Australia has a high junk food saturated market with too much heavy meat and not enough vegetables, unlike those of Asian countries
  • Most people perceive being unhealthy as someone who is overweight
  • In order to change the decline of Australia’s health and obesity status, fast food companies should undertake slow change to become more healthy and responsible towards their part in the problem.
  • Individuals have almost an umbrella of knowledge, mostly only extending towards what they have personally accepted or experienced within their life circumstances
  • Many people go by what others have told them are healthy and unhealthy foods but don’t go further into why this may be the case or how they have been classified in that way

 

Reference list

Epoch Times, 2015, The Western Diet Is So Unhealthy, It’s Affecting Our Eyes, Epoch Times, date viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1365599-the-western-diet-is-so-unhealthy-its-affecting-our-eyes/ >.

 Lam, Y., Y. 2016, pers. comm., 16 August.

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