Whether someone eats alone or with others also influences whether fruit and vegetables are included with meals. A piece of research from 2012 showed that children are less inclined to have vegetables if eating by themselves in comparison to if parents or friends were present at the meal. Earlier studies have shown the same to be applicable in adults, so promoting the benefit of eating together socially may be of value in relation this.
The finding may in part be determined by social pressures, where people conform to what is expected, though social support is also thought to play a role.
Researchers from Maryland who investigated psychosocial factors in relation to fruit and vegetable intake found those who had more social support were more likely to eat vegetables, indicating that with social backing, it may be easier to implement dietary changes.
It also appears that fruit and vegetables are viewed by men as less appropriate for their gender – last year a team of American researchers showed that men didn’t view vegetables as being manly, instead preferring to focus on meat at meals. Using marketing strategies that show fruit and vegetables as potentially benefiting factors such as improved appearance and sporting performance, in addition to health benefits, may help; few men realize their nutrient content can benefit these areas. While effective supplements can boost hair growth and muscle bulk, what better way than through their diet?
The time taken to shop, prepare and cook vegetables has often been cited as a reason for not eating more of them, as owing to their perishable nature it is generally regarded that they need more regular purchasing, meaning more trips to the grocery store. When the extra time perceived to purchase and prepare fruit and vegetables is combined with hectic lifestyles, this discourages their consumption.