Do friends influence your food choices?

Posted by juggernautPT on April 18, 2014

Do friends influence your food choices?
Do friends influence your food choices

A recent study review from the UK has highlighted the influence that peers can potentially exert on each other with regards both the type and quantity of food they choose to eat.

Lead investigator Eric Robinson from the University of Liverpool, said: ‘The evidence reviewed here is consistent with the idea that eating behaviours can be transmitted socially. Taking these points into consideration, the findings of the present review may have implications for the development of more effective public-health campaigns to promote healthy eating’.

Analysing findings from 15 studies, Robinson and his team found that people who believed that others were making either high or low-calorie food choices were considerably more likely to make the same choice. Similarly, those who believed that others were eating larger amounts of food were found to be more likely to follow suit and load up their plate.

Robinson said: ‘It appears that in some contexts, conforming to informational eating norms may be a way of reinforcing identity to a social group.’

Interestingly, the influence was noticeable even when people were not aware of the association, and when they were eating alone.

‘Norms influence behaviour by altering the extent to which an individual perceives the behaviour in question to be beneficial to them. Human behaviour can be guided by a perceived group norm, even when people have little or no motivation to please other people’ said Robinson.

Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


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