The Effect of Behavioral Contagion and Tie-Strength on Calorie Intake in Food Courts

Dan Wang, Carola Grebitus, Christiane Schroeter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Major contributors to the obesity epidemic are societal and result from sedentary lifestyles and consumption of high-calorie diets. Previous studies suggest that food choice behavior is socially transmissible. Hence, knowledge of the impact of social influence on calorie intake is critical to improve the understanding about the outcomes of policies related to healthful diets. There is the need to analyze the influence of social networks on choosing food in a public place. Thus, we interviewed groups of food court patrons in an all-you-can-eat college dining hall. Results show individuals dining in a group with at least one obese group member are consuming more calories from high-calorie foods and fewer calories from low-calorie foods. Food-related interactions in a group influenced food consumption. Hence, dining with obese peers likely increases calorie intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of International Food and Agribusiness Marketing
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • BMI
  • obesity
  • peer effects
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Food Science
  • Marketing


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