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- Scientists have found a connection between eating habits and the content of friends on social networks
Video: Scientists Have Found A Connection Between Eating Habits And The Content Of Friends On Social Networks
Scientists have found a connection between eating habits and the content of friends on social networks
Social media users are more likely to eat foods that they think their online friends prefer. The proportion of junk food in the diet increases by a third for those who believe that friends eat it too.
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Social media users are more likely to eat foods that they think their online friends prefer. This is evidenced by a study published in the journal Appetite. The proportion of junk food in the diet increases by a third for those who believe that friends eat it too.
Researchers at the University of Aston asked 369 students to rate the amount of fruits, vegetables, "energy-dense snacks" and sugary drinks that their Facebook friends consume daily. They compared this information with the participants' own actual food preferences.
As it turned out, those who believed that friends "approved" the use of unhealthy food, ate it significantly more. Whereas those who thought their friends were eating healthier foods had more fruits and vegetables in their diets. Participants' views were based on viewing messages and photos of friends with food and drinks, or general impressions of their health status.
“We seem to subconsciously factor in other people's behavior when choosing food,” said study co-author Lily Hawkins.
Participants ate one additional serving of fruits and vegetables for every five servings they thought their friends ate. And an extra serving of junk food and sugary drinks for every three servings you expect.
“Given the tremendous amount of time children and young people spend on social media with their peers, the results of this study will help develop interventions that promote healthy eating habits from an early age - and reinforce them for life,” said Claire Claire Farrow, co-author of the study and the National Guidelines for Baby Nutrition.
Going forward, the researchers plan to observe a group of participants to see if social media has an impact on eating habits in the long term.