‘Avoid unhealthy food’, ‘watch your manners’, ‘always eat breakfast’, ‘avoid snacking’, ‘eat slowly, the list is simply endless. Time to capitalize on these social norms of obesity as a study by scientists from McGill University and the University of Alberta has revealed that these popular beliefs may shape our behavior substantially and protect against obesity.
Professionals suggest that beliefs are supposed to be our assets and taking advantage of them to the core will definitely influence our actions. Notions that motivate healthy eating habits such as munching food morsels slowly, never skipping breakfasts and keeping a safe distance from junk food are some behaviors that are imbibed in us since childhood.
These food manners are promoted and reinforced by parents, colleagues, media and social actors. Just as we tend to follow other principles in life, these simple regulations related to obesity may go a long way in preventing obesity. Violation is supposedly detrimental by all means, the team believes.
“With increased obesity rates, this finding is crucial and could help governments, as well as families, communities, media, businesses and other organizations, design more appropriate interventions to guide and shape what people believe about appropriate eating habits,” expressed Dr. Dubé, James McGill Chair of Consumer and Lifestyle Psychology and Marketing.
The findings of the study showed that those who deterred from conforming to the norms of eating habits apparently had greater BMI than others. Those who practiced these social norms were seemingly at an advantage as they had lower BMI along with greater body satisfaction and subjective health. The investigators concluded that the present culture and society can help us opt the stance ‘healthy choice is the natural choice’.
The study is published in the journal, Appetite.