A small but insightful study suggests the best way to get married men to adopt healthier eating habits is when they can negotiate diet changes with their wives. This is valuable information for all the women who have tried every other trick in the book to improve what their husband's eat.
Women are recognized around the world as food guardians. What is purchased or procured, prepared and served in the home is most often under their control. So when a woman thinks her husband needs to lose weight or cut back on salt, she modifies the menu. These good intentions do not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, they are not always appreciated.
Now we have evidence that women may get better results if they talk to their husband's about their plans first.
Why Negotiating Diet Changes Helps
Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health conducted focus groups on 83 married African-American men. The majority of them claimed their wives did not consult them when they decided to implement a healthier diet at home.
The men admitted they did not like the food changes - even if under doctor's orders - but chose not to object in order to keep the peace. They said they were glad their wives were concerned about their health, but they placed more importance on maintaining marital happiness than having a say in what they ate.
They did not, however, just passively accept the changes. To get around all the bland and boring meals being served to them, these men simply ate whatever they wanted when they were out - sometimes to the point of bingeing at all-you-can-eat buffets. That might explain why the scale never budged!
How To Have The Diet Talk
The authors concluded that the key to getting married men to adopt a healthier diet is for couples to discuss new menu changes as a team. Like decisions about the family budget, there has to be some give and take.
The researchers also suggest physicians can help by urging their male patients who need to make dietary changes to have a tactful conversation with their wives about how they want to go about it. If the men initiate the diet talk, the wives may feel less inclined to do it covertly..
What was made clear from this study is that the men did not want to rock the boat. They like the fact their wives have the dominant role in meal management and they do not want to take over that responsibility. But they do want to have a say. And apparently too much tofu and ground turkey are first on the agenda!