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Blame it on 'friends and trends' if you are obese!

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 16 (UNI) Next time when you splurge on cheese foods, burgers, fried and spicy stuff in splashy joints and gain weight, blame it on your 'friends and trends' if they were behind your 'calorific' and sumptuous meals.

This is not a hypothesis but a psychological study, 'LifeChoices 2005' conducted by market information provider ACNielsen, which has attributed obesity in people, particularly women, to two main factors - friends and trends.

The study conducted in markets of 21 countries, including India, attributed weight gain and obesity to the prevailing market trends which drive people to consume high-calorie food , adding these trends have become a status symbol quotient for people who spread it by word-of-mouth.

This, the study noted, has not only led to a 25 per cent growth in the packaged food industry, it has also made women see this 'out-of-home' food industry as an enabler to modern living as they feel that without it they would not be able to fulfill their current roles.

''Peers govern a lot of out-of-home food decisions. When we go out, we usually follow our friends', rather than our parents' habits. Where and what to eat is often socially driven. 'Which place is good to eat' is a frequent conversation topic, particularly in the Asian markets, where the people eating out-of-home are the most,'' ACNielsen Executive Director (South Asia-customised research) Sarang Panchal said.

''All around the world, there are women and others discussing what is good to eat for health, to lose weight, what the latest food scandal is, and so on...but it doesn't translate into a corresponding 'healthy' choice when they are under time pressure to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families,'' he added.

According to the study, when 84 groups of women of different social status - young working women, women of broad middle class and mothers with children under 10 years of age - were surveyed, the common characteristic of all of them was that they bought food and drinks out of home (like snacks, take-away and dine-out), five times a week or more.

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