According to a series of studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research, they may do just that.
In the first study, some participants were asked to select four foods for a friend. They could choose from 16 foods – a mixture of “healthy” and “indulgent” choices. The other participants were to choose from the same foods for themselves.
Those choosing for themselves selected a healthy balance of healthy and indulgent foods, while the other group chose mostly indulgent foods.
The second study at a supermarket found that shoppers did, in fact, purchase more indulgent foods for friends and family. Yet another study in the series showed that when aware of their friends’ health goals, people chose a more balanced mix of foods.
The authors note that this could be a real public health problem as it may be yet another contributor to Americans’ weight problem. Overweight and obesity are a cause of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
How can you help your friends and family with their health goals?