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Salad or cheeseburger? Your co-workers shape your food choices -- ScienceDaily

When co-workers are eating together, individuals are more likely to select foods that are as healthy -- or unhealthy -- as the food selections on their fellow employees' trays. "We found that individuals tend to mirror the food choices of others in their social circles, which may explain one way obesity spreads through social networks," says Douglas Levy, PhD, an investigator at the Mongan Institute Health Policy Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and first author of new research published in Nature Human Behaviour. Levy and his co-investigators discovered that individuals' eating patterns can be shaped even by casual acquaintances, evidence that corroborates several multi-decade observational studies showing the influence of people's social ties on weight gain, alcohol consumption and eating behavior.