Healthy lifestyle inspires women to follow suit

Sydney: Women who spend time around peers who have a healthy lifestyle are more likely to eat well and exercise, a study has pointed out.

A survey of 3,610 women by Deakin University researchers found that they were most likely to follow the eating and physical activity behaviours of those around them.

"Our study considered the impact of social norms on physical activity and eating behaviours, including consumption of fast food, soft drink and fruit and vegetables," said researcher Kylie Ball from Deakin, reports the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

"We found that women who spent time around healthy peers were more likely to also eat well and exercise," Ball said, according to a Deakin release.

Ball said there are a number of reasons why the healthy habits of people around them seemed to rub off on the participants in the study.

The importance of social norms in influencing a healthy lifestyle highlighted by the study opens up opportunities for developing intervention strategies aimed at modifying social norms, Ball said.