Obesity has become a nation epidemic in the US. The increasing rate of obesity among teens led researchers to investigate the issue. What came out was rather surprising for everyone. Peer pressure, which is already blamed for many of the deviant behaviors in kids, is also involved in obesity among teens. It may come off as slightly confusing, but this seems to be the truth. Let’s explore the connection in more detail.
Teens Eating Habits are Affected by Their Peers
Until now, we believed that we are what we eat, but it’s not true anymore, at least not for teens, as several studies have found that teens eating habits are affected by the people they hang out with or want to be like. It is in fact the major cause of an increase in obesity among teens. It is due to peer pressure that teens usually prefer eating what their friends are eating even if it is unhealthy. Eating a healthy sandwich when everyone else has ordered pizza with extra cheese opens a new debate, giving peers a chance to tease teens about their weight and health consciousness. Things like these pressurize teens to eat what everyone else is eating.
Peer Pressure Increases Obesity Up To 57%
Your friends determine the size of your waist. This is what scientific studies done on teens have proved so far. If any member in the teen’s social circle is obese, then he has 57% risk of becoming obese in the near future, and if your kid’s close friend is obese, then he has 171% chance of gaining weight over a period of time. Even if the friend of your teen’s friends is obese, it increases the risk of obesity for your child. This is known as the ripple effect. Peer pressure leads to obesity the way one ripple forms another ripple. This was confirmed in a collective study done by the researchers of University of California, San Diego and Harvard.
Peer Pressure is Directly Associated with Teens Health
Recently, a group of researchers analyzed fifteen experimental studies published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and they were convinced that the quantity and type of food teen’s friends and social circle consume directly affect their health. And it’s not just food; teens also pick other negative habits from their peers, including drug and substance abuse.
In short, if the friends of teens are following an unhealthy lifestyle and eating unhealthy food, then they will also end up doing the same. So, it is strongly suggested that you keep an eye on your kid’s friends and their lifestyle choices, including eating habits.