This study investigates the effects of peer influence on the food intake of overweight and normal-weight children. A mixed factorial design was employed, with children's weight status (overweight vs. normal-weight) as a between-subjects factor, and social context (alone vs. group) as a within-subjects factor. A total of 32 children (n = 17 overweight and n = 15 normal-weight) between the ages of 6-10 years participated in this study. Findings from the random regression model indicated that overweight children ate more when with others than when alone, while in contrast normal-weight ate more with others than they did when alone. Therefore, social context differentially impacts the eating behavior of overweight and normal-weight children. This study underscores differences in responses to the social environment between overweight and non-overweight youths, and suggests that social involvement may be an important tool in treatment and prevention programs for overweight and obesity.
Salvy, S., Coelho, J. S., Kieffer, E., & Epstein, L. (2007). Effects of social contexts on overweight and normal-weight children's food intake. Physiology & Behavior, 92, 840-846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.06.014