This study explores perceptions of healthy/unhealthy eating, and perceptions of various socializing agents encouraging healthy eating, amongst Chinese adolescents. A survey was conducted of 152 seven, eighth and ninth grade Hong Kong students. Results showed that respondents frequently ate out with friends and frequently consumed a range of relatively unhealthy food (candies, chips, and soft drinks). They perceived that a balanced diet and eating at a regular time were the most important attributes of healthy eating.
In terms of situational influences on their consumption, respondents most likely ate unhealthy food at parties, when eating out or with friends. They most likely ate healthy food at home and when they were sick. Looking at socializing agents, respondents claimed that parents and government publicity asked them to eat healthy food more often than teachers or friends. Parents were also perceived as being the most effective source in encouraging them to eat healthy food.
In terms of alternative adverting appeals discouraging unhealthy eating, respondents considered news and fear appeals the most effective, while popularity and achievement appeals were considered relatively less effective. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.