Peer pressure may impact what you eat

Food waste. Photo courtesy: missouriorganic.org

(Photo: missouriorganic.org)

DENVER — British researchers are finding food choices are connected to social identity.

The research team looked at 15 studies published in 11 different journals.  People who were told that others were making low-calorie or high-calorie food choices were more likely to make the same choices for themselves.

“The evidence reviewed here is consistent with the idea that eating behaviors can be transmitted socially,” lead investigator Eric Robinson, of the University of Liverpool, said in a journal news release. “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.”

This study is hoping to help shape health policies, and to promote healthy eating.

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

Findings appear in December 13th edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.