Revista de Nutrição
Print version ISSN 1415-5273
ALVES, Hayda Josiane and BOOG, Maria Cristina Faber. Representations on fruit and vegetable consumption among fruit growers. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.6, pp. 705-715. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732008000600009.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate subjective aspects in the consumption of fruits and vegetables by fruit growers. METHODS: This is a qualitative study on the symbolic universe of consumption of these food items among fruit growers living in the rural area of Valinhos, a city located in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Participant observation techniques and non-structured but focused interviews were used. Moscovici's theory of social representations was applied to analyze data. RESULTS: The core message of the analyzed statements is: fruit is not food, it is work; which leads to other representations related to fruits such as: 1) fruits have no nourishing function; 2) its consumption is not essential; 3) they ensure the survival of the rural family's work and represent their livelihood. Although cultivated fruits are regularly consumed, they are regarded as food only when they are bought. Vegetables, including leaves, are classified as less important food items. The concept of healthy eating habits presented by this group includes aspects that transcend the nutritional value of food items, such as pleasure, commensality, social and cultural values, family memories and celebrations. CONCLUSION: The consumption of fruits is more related to their farming work than to elements which bring them closer to the concept of food. The social representations of Fruits and Vegetables support the formulation of subjective concepts of healthy eating habits and structure them among rural workers.
Keywords : Feeding behavior; Health promotion; Food and nutrition education; Food consumption.