According to the study, the socio-economic position or SEP plays a major role in determining how adolescents will adhere to proper dietary plans and recommendations for this particular age group. This assertion was obtained from an online survey floated to adolescents who attends various secondary schools in Victoria, Australia.
The web-based survey was designed to determine the eating styles or behaviors of adolescents, their self-motivation to follow healthy diet plans, thoughts and ideas about the importance of healthy diet plans and lifestyle, and the influence of society in urging them to follow healthy diet plans.
The survey yielded the result which asserts that the SEP of adolescents greatly influence their behavior and perspectives on health eating habits and plans such that those who are well-off socio-economically have the resources and access to information to motivate them to adhere to healthy diets and lifestyles.
On the other hand, adolescents who belong to lower class families lack the wherewithal to purchase healthy foods and obtain access to health-related informational resources. Therefore, the SEP of adolescents determine their health conditions in terms of diet plans and lifestyle, and suggest that those who are underprivileged are at risk for serious health conditions.
The Social Cognitive Theory or SCT when applied to the field of health education refers to the influences of psychological and social dimensions to an individual’s behavior and views towards health. The SCT defines various human behaviors motivated by cognitive or thinking processes that are instrumental in facilitating learning in health education and the application of health concepts and perspectives obtained from the learning experience.
SCT has been used to establish theories, concepts, approaches, strategies, and techniques in health education for the purpose of drawing out desirable results in the accomplishment of learning objectives in health education. To apply SCT in health concepts, the remainder of this text will tackle its role in explicating the social and economic dimensions that diversify the eating behaviors of the adolescent population.
For instance, the study has related the role of SCT in determining the major differences of health awareness and motivation among adolescents. All factors included in the assessment, such as self-motivation and awareness, existing knowledge about health, and the prevalent external social conditions experienced by adolescents wherein the modeling or influence of health-related concerns stem from, are part of the scope of the social cognitive theory.
For instance, one cognitive aspect included in the assessment involves the perceptions or thoughts on health-related issues; and how adolescents perceive or process health-related information also influence how important health is to them, most especially decisions on whether they need to eat a variety of fruit and vegetable selections or not, etc.
Another aspect of SCT applied within the study is the influence of the social environment in either urging or discouraging healthy diets for adolescents to follow or adhere to. In this case, the cognitive faculties of adolescents to decide whether to be influenced by desirable or undesirable health information obtained from their social environment.
The strong relationship between SCT, as it influences SEP, to the health profiles and behaviors or adolescents raises the importance of considering cognitive processes in promoting desirable health plans and lifestyles for adolescents in order to prevent the onset of chronic diseases that they may obtain from unhealthful diets and activities.
For instance, knowing how most adolescents perceive health-related information will help health professionals to determine how to formulate instructional materials for health education that are mostly interesting and motivating for adolescents.
In addition, knowing how strong the influence of their social environments to their way of thinking and behavior will determine how important social situations as tools or media for transferring health information and facilitating health education.
Overall, understanding the role of SCT in the health behaviors of adolescents allows health professionals, schools, and other stakeholders in establishing strategies, techniques, and approaches in promoting good health behaviors and information to the adolescent population.