Delivering dietary advice to women is not a man’s domain, Australian research has confirmed.A study conducted at the Australian National University has shown when it comes to influencing views on weight and eating for good or bad, women look to their own.
Just over a hundred women took part in the research, which rated their response to a number of short videos featuring supposed healthy eating experts of either gender.
“We found that the women who watched the videos with the woman speaking were far more persuaded by the message,” said PhD student Tegan Cruwys.
The same messages when delivered by a man were shown to have “little effect” in comparison.
For example, forty per cent of women who watched one healthy eating message delivered by a woman clicked on a computer link to find out more information, compared to just eight per cent who heard the same message from a man.
Another video promoted a “dangerous” crash-course approach to dieting, including strict calorie counting and excessive exercise.
This again evoked a much stronger response when delivered by a woman.
Ms Cruwys said it showed how women could be strongly influenced by their peers towards healthy eating or dangerous dieting, and it underscored the problem posed by highlighting mostly very skinny models in billboards, television and in magazines.
“Women don’t diet and worry about their weight for men, they worry about it for other women,” she says.