Things That Influence Eating Behavior
Americans like to eat; there is no doubt about it. We are an able bunch
of consumers, capable of packing away impressive quantities of whatever
is filling our plates at any given sitting. Quantity is our game. On the
other hand, quality is another story. We have eaten ourselves into
shared obesity, and our national health is a sad condition. This
defeating behavior might very well cause us to question why we eat the
way we do.
The Psychology of Eating
Every behavior is accompanied by a reason for that behavior. We do not
bound from action to action without cause. The behavior of eating is no
different. For better or worse, we eat as we do for reasons.
A number of factors influence how we eat including cultural factors,
social factors, and familial factors.
Eating also is a matter of experiencing negative or positive consequences. If we are having negative feelings, we might eat to alleviate those feelings only to have them return and expand at a later point in time when we discover that eating has not helped to address the heart of the problem at all.
Culture plays an important role in food choice, whereas different
cultures have different foods that stimulate and satisfy appetite.
Cultural influence is often rooted in what a culture considers edible.
For example, some cultures get protein from things like grasshoppers or
ants. Other cultures may prefer snakes as their source of protein. Such
food sources are obviously not universal choices.
Social influences can have a profound effect on the decisions we make,
and that includes the choices we make about what we eat.
Even when we eat alone, social influence plays an important role in food
choice because of the attitudes and habits we have developed across the
years through social interactions. We also eat more when we are in the
company of friends or family, and the amount we eat increases in
conjunction with the number of people we dine with.
The media also has a great influence on how we eat and, in particular,
how our children eat. Children spend an inordinate amount of time
watching television, and are exposed to a great deal of exploitive
advertising for non-nutritious foods. Most children at the age of six
are not even able to distinguish between the programming and the
Perhaps the biggest influence on food choice is that of the immediate
family. Children learn by imitation, and the examples set by family are
important in helping shape the choices that children make. If parents
are eating unhealthy foods around their children, chances are good that
those children will embrace those habits.
Parents and other family members should be mindful of the choices they
make and select healthy food and snacks, especially around their children.Living life well-fed,My Bariatric Life
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Published On: March 20, 2014