We are more than just what we eat: Educational values derived from food consumption

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Dr. Chi Hong Nguyen


Research on food consumption often highlights the influences of socio-economic and cultural factors on people’s eating habits that can produce educational values. This study creates a conceptual model based on Vygotsky’s social constructivism to explore the educational values derived from students’ food eating practices and examines these values through in-depth conversations with 22 students (aged 19 – 23) studying at universities in Can Tho City, Vietnam. It is argued in this article that food consumption is a personal-social construct itself. This construct is made of co-influences of external, in-between, and internal factors on the absorbing, justifying, assimilating, and accommodating new knowledge of food consumption. These interrelated influences concurrently enable individuals to associate the materialistic, moral, intellectual, and spiritual values with their eating habits. In this sense, food consumption and eating habits do not simply exist as separate, subjective entities. Instead, they are embedded in individuals’ actual existence in their surrounding world, which can be both physical and virtual.

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