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The effect of social facilitation on water consumption in a free-living adults
  1. E Al-Jalali,
  2. S M Shirreffs
  1. School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

Abstract

People tend to drink and eat more when others are present than when alone (De Castro. Physiol Behav 1994;56:445–55). This study investigated the influence of the presence of other people on water consumption in adults living in the UK. 8 females and 11 males who consumed 74±12% (Mean±SD) of their meals and snacks alone (1) and 8 females and 11 males who had 80±17% of their meals and snacks with other people present (2+) completed a 3-consecutive day dietary record for 1 weekend and 2 week days. Every item consumed, eating occasion (meal/snack), time, food preparation method, product brand, location of consumption and details of any people with them were recorded. Characteristics of subjects 1 and 2+ are: 31±13 y, 41±15 y; body mass 74±17 kg, 75±14 kg; height 171±11 cm, 172±8 cm; BMI 26±7 kg/m2, 25±4 kg/m2; environmental temperature 10±5°C, 10±4°C, respectively. Comparisons between groups were determined by unpaired t-tests. Group 2+ consumed more water than group 1 subjects (2482±691 ml/day, 1681±630 ml/day, (p=0.001)). This was because they consumed more water via drinks (non-water beverages: 1143±565 ml, 731±559 ml respectively (p=0.038), plain water: 791±432 ml, 383±347 ml respectively (p=0.027)) as there was no difference between groups in total water intake from food (1; 506±270 ml, 2+; 608±152 ml respectively p=0.163). There was a strong and significant correlation between water intake and other people present r=0.492, p=0.002. The amount of water ingested with other people present increase by over 801 ml/day than alone. This is similar to previous research (De Castro et al. Physiol Behav 1991;51:121–5) which found that eating alone decreased intake by 200 kcal/day.

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