A Qualitative Exploration of Nigerian Offshore Oil Field Workers’ Eating Habits and Physical Activity

Ihesiulo, Chukwuemeka Uzoamaka and McDermott, Elizabeth and Giga, Sabir (2021) A Qualitative Exploration of Nigerian Offshore Oil Field Workers’ Eating Habits and Physical Activity. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity have been associated with overweight and obesity (Yoshioka et al., 2005; Chourdakis et al., 2010; Parkes, 2002; Froom et al., 1996) and identified as risk factors for illnesses, accidents, occupational injuries and disorders, including among offshore oilfield workers (Parkes, 1998; Gibson Smith et al., 2018a; Kong et al., 2012; Chau et al., 2004; Froom et al., 1996). The above evidence raises concern for the offshore oilfield population (Gibson Smith et al., 2018a) among whom unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, overweight and obesity have been found (Oshaug et al., 1992; Light and Gibson, 1986; Gibson Smith, et al., 2015; Gibson Smith, 2016; Gibson Smith, 2018b; Chen, Wong, and Yu, 2008; Mearns, Hope, and Reader, 2006), and highlights the need for a strong evidence base on eating and physical activity behaviours among that population, with a view to understanding them better and proffering more effective behaviour change interventions. This research study aimed to explore Nigerian offshore oilfield workers’ eating habits and physical activity, the work-related and socio-cultural factors that underpin the behaviours and, the workers’ perception of the concepts of healthy eating and physical activity. It utilised a qualitative research design and the sample consisted of twenty-two Nigerian offshore oilfield workers recruited through snowball sampling. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews conducted face-to-face or through Skype and thematically analysed. Data collection and analysis was conducted between August 2017 and April 2019. The research work drew on the social determinants of health model (Dahlgren and Whitehead, 1991) as a theoretical framework and was underpinned by the social constructionist philosophical perspective. The findings reveal a high consumption of carbohydrates, red meat, fatty and sugary foods, overeating and a general pattern of low participation in physical activity among the participants. The study also shows that offshore oilfield workers’ eating habits and physical activity are determined by organisational and national cultures, free access to abundant food, lack of food portion control, the physical offshore living and working environment and, the offshore social environment. It further reveals that while several of the participants associate healthy eating with nourishment of the body, others perceive it as eating food that helps them perform their work efficiently.

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12 Nov 2021 09:55
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 10:53