Food, eating and body image in the lives of low socioeconomic status rural Mexican women living in Queretaro State, Mexico

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Qualitative research using semi-structured interviews and key informant interviews were used to explore how women from low socioeconomic rural households in Queretaro State, Mexico perceived and reacted to their obesogenic environment. Reduced availability of healthy food options and household financial constraints along with reduced agency of women in this setting were factors that limited women's ability to access and consume diets consistent with the promotion of good health. The cultural values that emphasised obesity as a desirable state for women and the women's social networks that promoted these values were also identified as playing a role in reinforcing certain behaviours. Public health advocates wanting to design interventions in such settings need to be sensitive to the cultural as well as the environmental context described for rural Mexican women.HighlightsRural Mexican women associated having excess weight with a full, healthy life.The community setting rated highly obesogenic for food and physical activity.To be labelled as fat in these communities carried no negative connotations.Women's lives were sedentary, financially dependent and socially limited.Social networks play a role in normalising obesity in married women.

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