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Peer pressure can keep you healthy

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Hanging out with healthy friends could be the best way to keep fit. A study of 3,610 Australian women found that physical activity and healthy eating behavior were both strongly affected by social norms.

Hanging out with healthy friends could be the best way to keep fit. A study of 3610 Australian women, published in BioMed Central's open access International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that physical activity and healthy eating behavior were both strongly affected by social norms.

Kylie Ball, from Deakin University, Australia, worked with a team of researchers to survey the 18-46 year old women. She said, "The importance of social environmental influences on health-promoting behaviors such as physical activity and healthy eating has been increasingly recognized. Ours is one of the first studies to demonstrate the association of both social support and social norms with physical activity and eating behaviors."

The researchers tested the extent to which a fashion for healthy behavior among a person's contacts could influence their own lifestyle. The women who took part in the study were asked to rate how much they agreed with statements like "I often see other people walking in my neighborhood" and "Lots of women I know eat fast food often." Those women who moved in healthier circles were in turn more likely to eat well and get more exercise. According to Ball, "These findings suggest that healthy behavior may be contagious. The potential to modify social norms as an intervention lever for promoting increased engagement in physical activity and healthy eating is worthy of further investigation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kylie Ball, Robert W Jeffery, Gavin Abbott, Sarah A McNaughton and David Crawford. Is healthy behavior contagious: associations of social norms with physical activity and healthy eating. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Peer pressure can keep you healthy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206201233.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, December 6). Peer pressure can keep you healthy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206201233.htm
BioMed Central. "Peer pressure can keep you healthy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206201233.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

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