Cardiovascular disease exerts an enormous burden on women's health. The intake of a healthy diet may reduce this burden. However, social norms and economic constraints are often factors that restrain women from paying attention to their diet. Underpinned by critical realism, this study explores how gender/sex influences decision-making regarding food consumption among women of low socioeconomic status (SES). The study was carried out at two cardiac facilities in Karachi, Pakistan, on 24 participants (male and female from different ethnic backgrounds), who had received health education. Using an interpretive descriptive approach, the study identified major barriers to a healthy diet: proscribed gender roles and lack of women's autonomy, power, male domination, and abusive behaviours. Cardiovascular risk and disease outcomes for the Pakistani women of low SES are likely to further escalate if individual and structural barriers are not reduced using multifactorial approaches.
- cardiovascular disease
- gender differences
- gender inequality
- recommended dietary allowances