Lack of awareness of personal dietary fat intake is associated with a low motivation to change to a diet lower in fat. An optimistic bias in the comparison of one's own fat intake to that of others is associated with this lack of awareness. Insight into the way people make interpersonal comparisons related to fat intake may contribute to a better understanding of dietary intake and its determinants. Such insight may provide suggestions for nutrition education interventions aimed at increasing awareness and intention to change. The present study explores interpersonal comparisons involved in evaluating personal dietary fat intake. One hundred and eighty-nine respondents participated in structured telephone interviews. The respondents reported that they use interpersonal comparison information related to fat intake to some extent and that they mostly compare themselves with close relatives and friends. Respondents who intended to change to a lower fat diet and the younger ones were more likely to compare themselves with others. Comparison targets were perceived to eat small, as well as large or average amounts of fat, which may indicate that people use positive as well as negative role models for making interpersonal comparisons in terms of dietary fat intake.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Oenema, A., & Brug, H. (2003). Exploring the occurrence and nature of comparison of one's own perceived dietary fat intake to that of self-selected others. Appetite, 41(3), 259–264. doi:10.1016/S0195-6663(03)00103-X