Contextual and Individual Variables as Predictors of Energy-Dense Meals in Food Choices

Daniela Borbón-Mendívil, Cesar Tapia-Fonllem*, Blanca Fraijo-Sing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diets based on meals that provide a large amount of energy and consumed frequently often increase the rate of growth of the body mass index (overweight or obesity) and, in turn, the risk of suffering from non-communicable diseases. In order to make a food choice, it is necessary to search for foods in the environment, taking into account physical and social variables (contextual variables) which, together with individual variables, delimit the situation of food selection. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of social facilitation, portion size, salience of food, and food preference or rejection on the selection of energy-dense foods by young college students. To do so, we performed a factorial experiment in which unaccompanied and accompanied participants (levels of social facilitation) as they went through the process of choosing from different options of main dishes, beverages, and desserts then noted the reasons for their selection (preference or rejection of the food). Results showed significant differences between the group of accompanied participants and salience of food in the selection of the energy-dense main dishes and desserts (pizza, spaghetti, and chocolate cake). A significant relationship was also identified between accompanied participants, hedonistic/sensory reasons (food preference or rejection category), and salience of food in the selection of the energy-dense main dishes. In conclusion, key findings of the variables that constitute the situation that predicts the selection of energy-dense foods have emerged from this study, when participants and the given level of social facilitation (in this case, being accompanied) were faced with the conditions of the food salience of the meals of their preference regarding its taste and appearance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number803326
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by grants from the University of Sonora and the National Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología), Mexico.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Borbón-Mendívil, Tapia-Fonllem and Fraijo-Sing.


  • contextual variables
  • eating situation
  • energy-dense meals
  • food choice
  • individual variables


Dive into the research topics of 'Contextual and Individual Variables as Predictors of Energy-Dense Meals in Food Choices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this