Perception of Lower Socioeconomic Standing Stimulates Appetite

Posted on July 11, 2019

Eating behaviors have been found to be associated with one’s socioeconomic status. The psychological pressure of being in poverty might lead to a greater risk for obesity, according to recent studies investigating the psychological effects of being a less fortunate member of the society.

An experiment was conducted with some participants who were made to experience being of a lower or higher economic status, influenced to compare themselves with the financial situations and social standing of others. Given these conditions, the eating patterns and food preferences of the participants were observed during the study.

It was discovered that participants who felt that they had a lower socioeconomic status than others were more likely to consume a higher number of calories from the food they were given during the study. They also tended to take larger amounts of food for themselves, and had a better ability to tell which drinks had more calories. Additionally, they also had higher levels of ghrelin in their body, causing them to desire food more.

This led researchers to think that the feeling of having one’s needs satisfied might be able to cause an individual to reduce food consumption. They then asked the participants to write daily entries about what they are grateful for in a journal over a span of 2 weeks. Males who were involved in the study reduced their food intake after filling in the journal every day.

Prior to this study, it was believed that obesity in individuals who live in poverty was due to the inability to afford more nutritious food and also their engagement in activities which are detrimental to their health. However, this study has suggested that psychological effects of knowing that they are of lower socioeconomic standing may have adverse effects on the health of these individuals. With further research, other interventions developed to protect people from engaging in unhealthy eating habits that can lead to serious health consequences.


Source material from Science Daily

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