Washington D.C: A team of psychologists has discovered what influences our food choices.
Texas Christian University’s Dr. Sarah Hill’s research revealed that childhood socioeconomic status may influence people’s food choices as adults. The research finds that growing up poor promotes eating in the absence of hunger in adulthood, regardless of one’s adult socioeconomic status.
According to their findings, this means that a person’s developmental history may play a key role in their relationship with food and weight management, rendering those from lower socioeconomic status (SES) environments more vulnerable to unhealthy weight gain.
In a collection of three studies, each with 31 women, Hill measured or manipulated participants’ energy needs and gave them the opportunity to eat provided snacks. The participants also reported their childhood and adult SES. Results revealed that people with higher childhood SES ate more when need was high than when need was low. This relationship was not observed among those with lower childhood SES. These individuals consumed comparably high amounts of food whether their current energy need was high or low.
According to Dr. Mann, the word ‘healthy’ seems to turn people off, particularly when it appears on foods that are obviously healthy. The subtle health message, such as the healthy heart symbol, seemed to be more effective at leading people to choose a healthy option.
The study has been presented at Society for Personality and Social Psychology 17th Annual Convention.