The role of societal norms in portion size related behaviour in Denmark and on the Island of Ireland

Violeta Stefan, Moira Dean, Michelle Spence, Liisa Lahteenmaki

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose:
Social norms influence eating behavior, but little is known about their role in portion size-related behavior. This study
explored the role of social eating norms in Denmark (DK) and the Island of Ireland (IOI) in relation to portion size-related
behavior.

Methods:
In a survey DK (n=1063) and IOI (n=1012) respondents rated social eating norms (11 items) and portion size-related behavior
(3 items) on a 7-point scale (1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree). The 3 items relate to: 1) anticipating how
much will be eaten at the beginning of a meal, 2) clearing the plate, and 3) clearing the plate even when full. Sociodemographics
and eating attitudes (e.g. cognitive restraint) were measured as background variables

Results:
Two social eating factors were identified: The ‘limit intake’ norm (6 items) and the ‘plate cleaning’ norm (3 items). The
DK participants reported stronger ‘limit intake’ norms and weaker ‘plate cleaning’ norms than IOI. In both countries
females reported stronger ‘limit intake’ norms while males reported stronger ‘plate cleaning’ norms. In DK, age was
positively correlated with both social eating norm factors. The ‘limit intake’ norm had stronger association with anticipating
how much will be eaten at the beginning of a meal, but the ‘plate cleaning’ norm had stronger association with
clearing the plate. Only the ‘plate cleaning’ norm was associated with clearing the plate even when full.

Conclusions:
The social eating norms vary significantly between countries and genders. The ‘limit intake’ and ‘plate cleaning’ norms
play a role in consumers’ reported portion size-related behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2014
EventInternational Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting 2014 - California, San Diego, United States
Duration: 21 May 201424 May 2014

Conference

ConferenceInternational Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting 2014
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period21/05/201424/05/2014

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