Children copy their eating behavior to that of their peers. This is evident from the doctoral research of Kirsten Bevelander of the Radboud University Nijmegen.
The behavioral scientist examined whether peers influence each other in food choices (healthy or unhealthy) and food intake (much or little sweets). They did so with several experiments in children of primary school age in their own schools and a supermarket.
Children indeed seem to influence each other, and that can also can go unconscious. "Children often do not realize she's eating another copy It goes very fast:. As a child to eat something instructed by us or sweets picked up, the other child had knew nothing about it, a great opportunity in five seconds also to get some. "
One child approach is more the behavior of a peer than the other. Overweight children are more likely to be in the company of someone who eats a lot, too much to eat. "Children with a healthy weight stopped before eating. Children with low self-esteem are more likely to adapt to the feeding behavior of another," says the researcher.
Promoting healthy behavior.
That social influence is so powerful, it can also be used to promote healthy eating, thinking Bevelander. "Because children eat less as a contemporary eating less. And they are also influenced to choose healthier products." Thus creating a healthy environment makes sense.