Singer, Kerri Karmen Patrick
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This dissertation is an interpretive phenomenological study of food choices among middle-class Chinese adults living in Beijing, China. The objective of this study was to understand eating behaviors in order to gain a broader perspective for future obesity research. Ten participants participated in multiple, unstructured interviews (in English and in Chinese) focused on their lived experiences in order to unravel food decisions made in everyday life. Bridling was used to ensure an open-ended approach throughout the study in addition to participant checks to verify understandings. Heidegger’s concepts of Self and They-Self were used in the analysis. The findings suggest the people’s food choices are heavily embedded in the They-Self world (They-food) as they interact constantly with the outside world. However, people still seek ways to project an individualized food identity (Self-food) as a way to maintain a sense of uniqueness. These findings demonstrate the intricacy of food choices that require health education measures to be collective and individualized in order to attain more effectiveness.