New paper: The role of peers, siblings and social media for children’s healthy eating socialization: a mixed methods study

Eating is More Than Food Only or why Social Context Matters for Your Child’s Healthy Development

by Tija Ragelienė

Food and eating is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. We need food simply to survive and have energy for our daily activities. However, eating is not just a simple physiological action, but also a social activity. Therefore, a social context where eating behaviour takes place also matters. Especially when we speak about the healthy development of growing children when healthy nutrition is particularly important to avoid childhood obesity and related non-communicable illness in the future. In this paper, we explore the social influences of siblings, peers, and social media for children’s food-related consumer socialization. The study findings reveal that the role of peers is more prominent for children’s food choices than the influence of siblings. However, siblings’ influence becomes more important when children eat together with the whole family, where a great variety of different foods usually provided by parents is consumed. Eating together with peers can impact children’s eating behaviour in positive and negative directions. Friends’ support for healthy eating and the frequency of eating with friends can help children eat fewer snacks and increase their vegetable preference. Communication, positive emotions and strengthening relationships with friends are the most important aspect of eating together with friends. Nevertheless, peers can also hinder children’s healthy food choices due to the observation of peers ’snacking behaviour and scornful reactions to healthy eating. Social media contributes to children’s consumer socialization by exposing children to food and drink products shown on social media platforms that are frequently used by children to interact with peers and share experiences. Peers’, siblings’ and social media influence can be potentially used in creating marketing strategies to promote healthy eating behaviour among children.

Ragelienė, T., & Grønhøj, A. (2021). The role of peers, siblings and social media for children’s healthy eating socialization: a mixed methods study. Food Quality and Preference, 93, 104255. doi:


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