Challenges of a healthy lifestyle for socially disadvantaged people of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin in the Netherlands: a focus group study

D. Teuscher*, A.J. Bukman, M.A. van Baak, E.J.M. Feskens, R.J. Renes, A. Meershoek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Lifestyle interventions often fail to successfully reach individuals with lower socio-economic status (SES), possibly because of the individual behavioural orientation to health behaviour and because limited research has included the target groups' perspectives in the development of interventions. Certainly, in order to make lifestyle interventions more applicable, target groups' viewpoints should to be taken into account. In order to tailor an effective lifestyle intervention to groups with lower SES of different ethnic origins, 14 focus group interviews were conducted with Turkish, Moroccan and Dutch male and female groups. The target groups' responses highlight their viewpoint and their dilemmas with regard to physical activity behaviour and healthy eating. Exploration of the target groups' behaviour in terms of their own logic revealed three prominent themes. Firstly, some individuals find it difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and regular physical activities, as their concept of a healthy life comprises competing values and activities. Secondly, social norms and social practices of others influence health behaviour. Thirdly, respondents' answers reflect how they deal with the dilemma of competing values and norms. They use different ways of reasoning to make sense of their own (health) behaviour. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that considering physical activity and eating as collective social practices rather than as determinants of health will provide new opportunities to initiate healthy lifestyles and to make lifestyle interventions more applicable to target groups' realities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number5
Early online date30 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2015


  • ethnic minorities
  • collective lifestyle
  • lifestyle interventions
  • the Netherlands
  • social practice
  • qualitative research
  • RISK
  • SELF


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