Peer Effects on Weight Status, Dietary Behaviour and Physical Activity among Adolescents in Europe: Findings from the I.Family Study

Wencke Gwozdz, Peng Nie, Alfonso Sousa-Poza, Stefaan DeHenauw, Regina Felső, Antje Hebestreit, Isabel Iguacel, Lauren Lissner, Fabio Lauria, Angie S. Page, Lucia A. Reisch, Michael Tornaritis, Toomas Veidebaum, Garrath Williams, Ronja Foraita, I.Family Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study uses survey data from the I.Family Study to investigate the association between adolescent and peer overweight in a sample of adolescents aged 12–16 from six European countries. We find clear evidence of peer effects on body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat, which are stronger among adolescents at the upper end of overweight distribution. We also provide evidence that both consumption of less healthy foods and time spent in leisure time physical activity and audio‐visual media are positively associated with similar behaviours among friends. These observations may suggest that peer effects on adolescent overweight operate by influencing friends’ behaviour patterns, especially unhealthy food consumption and physical (in)activity.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)270-296
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 6. February 2019

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