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Appetite. 2007 Jul;49(1):177-82. Epub 2007 Feb 11.

Peer influence on pre-adolescent girls' snack intake: effects of weight status.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Behavioral Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Farber Hall, Room G56, 3435 Main Street, Building no. 26, Buffalo, NY, 14214 3000, USA.


Although most eating occurs in a social context, the effects of peer influence on child eating have not been the object of systematic experimental study. The present study assesses the effects of peer influence on lean and overweight pre-adolescent girls' snack intake as a function of the co-eaters' weight status. The weight status of the participants was varied by studying weight discordant dyads (i.e., one lean and one overweight participant) and weight concordant dyads (i.e., both members of the dyads were either lean or overweight). Results from the random regression model indicate that overweight girls eating with an overweight peer consumed more kilocalories than overweight participants eating with a normal-weight peer. Normal-weight participants eating with overweight peers ate similar amounts as those eating with lean eating companions. The regression model improved when the partners' food intake was entered in the model, indicating that the peers' intake was a significant predictor of participants' snack consumption. This study underscores differences in responses to the social environment between overweight and non-overweight youths.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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