Perception of the city outskirts resident’s women on the barriers to healthy eating: a qualitative study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Varastegan Institute for Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Faculty of Engineering Science, Mashhad Unit, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran

4 Health Sciences Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran



Background: A crucial prerequisite for managing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors is community
experiences and perceptions about the challenges of unhealthy eating. On the other hand, there is no literature on nutritional
literacy in the city›s outskirts, which are the vulnerable parts of society. Thus, this study aimed to examine the barriers to healthy
nutrition for resident women in low-income areas of Mashhad.
Methods: This qualitative study used 28 women as a representative sample of the residents of marginalized areas of Mashhad in
Iran. Data collection was conducted using interviews between 2021 and 2022. Data analysis was done using a content analysis
approach (open and selective coding).
Results: The most critical obstacles related to healthy eating were listed as follows: (a) low income, high expenses or expensive,
(b) incorrect habits or lack of awareness, (c) food preferences, (d) lack of feeling of necessity and insufficient motivation, (e) lack
of convenient access in the area, and (f) illness or physical condition. However, participants stated economic, social, and cultural
issues as the main barriers to choosing healthy food among residents of low-income areas.
Conclusion: This study identified the main barriers to a healthy diet in marginal areas. Overcoming these obstacles can be a
strategy for local and national planning to deal with NCDs.


Main Subjects