Tags: overeating | dining | peer | influence

Is Overeating a Social Condition?

Friday, 03 February 2012 06:13 PM

You can’t blame your dinner companions if you eat too much. Or can you?

A provocative new study of the power of persuasion has found that our dining partners wield a powerful influence on our own eating habits.

Dutch researchers, writing in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, said their study of the dining habits of 140 women suggests people tend to “mirror” others’ behavior during meals and that could influence how much – or little – we eat.

The scientists monitored 70 pairs of women as they dined in a laboratory remodeled to look like a restaurant. They found that the dining partners tended to mimic one another’s eating habits -- taking bites of food at about the same time, for instance.

One possible explanation: The women, who did not know one another before the study, may have been politely trying to make a favorable impression.

“Numerous studies have shown that people adjust their intake directly to that of their eating companions; they eat more when others eat more, and less when others inhibit intake,” the researchers wrote.
The latest study, they added, “suggests that behavioral mimicry may partially account for social modeling of food intake.”

© HealthDay

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People tend to 'mirror' their dining partners' mealtime habits, which can influence how much they eat.
Friday, 03 February 2012 06:13 PM
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