The Effects of Peer Pressure on Nutrition Attitudes and Food Selection | Abstract

International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences (IJMRHS)
ISSN: 2319-5886 Indexed in: ESCI (Thomson Reuters)


The Effects of Peer Pressure on Nutrition Attitudes and Food Selection

Author(s):Nasser Alqahtani*

Objectives: Considerable time is spent at work and unhealthy eating behaviors may be acquired through frequent pressure from co-workers. The consequences of such an attitude can be devastating to individuals’ health (via obesity) and to the workplace (via the costs of absenteeism). The aim of this study is to assess the impact (peer pressure) of co-workers on eating behaviors and food choices among Saudi employees. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among employees working at multiple organizations in the Northern Regions of Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire was submitted to a representative sample with different body mass index (BMIs). The demographic data of the participants, the variables regarding meal consumption patterns at work, and data about the influence of peers on food choices were collected. Results: A total of 937 employees responded (60.7% females, 74% overweight or obese). Most respondents would take meals with co-workers (84.3%) and were influenced by co-workers in their food choices (61.2%); these influences were negative (unhealthy food) for 29.9%. Interestingly, co-workers hindered plans for healthy diets frequently or occasionally in 75.4% of participants. Unlike those with low BMIs, a significant proportion of obese employees were influenced in their food choices by co-workers (p=0.004) in a negative way (p=0.012) and had their healthy diets disrupted by co-workers as well (p=0.004). Conclusion: Saudi employees are strongly influenced by peer pressure regarding food choices. Targeted intervention programs should be tailored to increase employees’ knowledge regarding healthy food choices, resisting the pressure of co-workers, and supporting self-efficacy in eating.

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