Why We Eat What We Eat: An Ecological Approach

Course Details
& Course Number
NUTR 241, LEC 201
Class Number
Course Type
Undergraduate (Milwaukee Campus)
Meets Requirements
Lori Klos
Course Dates
June 26 - August 19, 2023 (8-week Session)

It is hard to believe, but studies show that adults make 200+ food-related decisions each day! In light of this complexity, we will systematically explore influences on food choice/eating behavior using a social ecological framework. Do you find yourself eating certain foods even though they don’t taste very good? Do you eat differently when you’re out to dinner with your immediate family compared to a new romantic partner? Do the “feds” influence what foods you end up putting on your plate? Would you purchase more fruits and vegetables if they were advertised with as much fervor and financial backing as McDonald’s menu items? What types of foods might you buy if the nearest “big-box” supermarket was miles away from your home but a plethora of fast food restaurants were located just around the corner? As you contemplate the above questions, you will probably begin to realize how many factors influence the “what, when, where, when, why, and how” of an individual’s food choices and eating-related behaviors. In NUTR 241, we utilize a social ecological framework to examine the interrelationship between the human organism and the food environment, explicitly examining how multiple levels of influence – from attitudes, beliefs, and preferences; to social, political, and cultural factors – shape a person’s food choice and eating behavior.

Course Syllabus (.pdf)