Study: Social media users tend to copy friends’ eating habits

National News

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

If you think your Facebook friends eat fruits and vegetables, you’re likely to start eating or eat more fruits and vegetables, too. Conversely, if you think your Facebook friends eat junk food, you’re likely to do the same.

That’s the gist of research that investigators say is the first evidence online social circles influence our eating habits.

It may also have important implications for using ‘nudge’ techniques on social media to encourage healthy eating.

In the study, published in the scientific journal Appetite, the Aston University researchers asked 369 university students to estimate the amount of fruit, vegetables, “energy-dense snacks” and sugary drinks their Facebook peers consumed on a daily basis.

This information was cross-referenced with the participants’ own actual eating habits and showed that those who felt their social circles “approved” of eating junk food consumed significantly more themselves. Meanwhile, those who thought their friends ate a healthy diet ate more portions of fruit and veggies. Their perceptions could have come from seeing friends’ posts about the food and drink they consumed, or simply a general impression of their overall health.

“This study suggests we may be influenced by our social peers more than we realize when choosing certain foods,” said Aston University health psychology student Lily Hawkins, who helped lead the study. “We seem to be subconsciously accounting for how others behave when making our own food choices.”

You can read more about the study here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder"

Minot Mischief

Thumbnail for the video titled "Minot Mischief"

Special Olympics

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics"

Hope for Haiti

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hope for Haiti"

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 2/25

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 2/25"

Coronavirus Impacts

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus Impacts"

YHF

Thumbnail for the video titled "YHF"

Teacher Shortage

Thumbnail for the video titled "Teacher Shortage"

Law Enforcement

Thumbnail for the video titled "Law Enforcement"

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/25

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/25"

Amber's Tuesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/25

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Tuesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/25"

Tuesday Forecast: Partly sunny with cooler afternoon highs

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tuesday Forecast: Partly sunny with cooler afternoon highs"

Doug Update

Thumbnail for the video titled "Doug Update"

Zero Waste Week

Thumbnail for the video titled "Zero Waste Week"

Region 7 Girls Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Region 7 Girls Basketball"

Region 5 Girls Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Region 5 Girls Basketball"

Minot City Council Meeting

Thumbnail for the video titled "Minot City Council Meeting"

Fires Attorney

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fires Attorney"

One Basin Program

Thumbnail for the video titled "One Basin Program"

Safety Council

Thumbnail for the video titled "Safety Council"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge