There have been numerous researches that have been conducted to show the effect of both nature and nurture on eating behaviors. The eating behaviors have been associated to cultural, genetic, environmental and social elements. There are those who eat quite a lot while others eat less than required, all with reasons that can be explained by nurture or nature. This article will discuss a literature review of current research that is related to eating behaviors.

Eating behaviors is at times related to family and society development. The behaviors evolve during the early years of children and might be maintained throughout their lifetime. Recent research has however seemed to divert from the old assumptions and is now associating eating behaviors with the genetic makeup of the subject (Davey, 2010). People with different eating behaviors have been observed to possess different personalities and traits that range from anxiety to obsessiveness (Davey, 2010). Study has shown that there is a considerable comparison between a person’s parents’ genetic traits to their eating habits.

There are, however, those who are affected by the environmental conditions. The surrounding circumstances range from peer influence, culture, media images. They tend to promote a certain body shape or body figure as being the ideal form of human physical appearance that should be emulated. Magazines and television have played a major role in depicting the kind of body features one is supposed to possess to possess the ideal features. Ideal women have been depicted as having small waists and large breasts while ideal men have been portrayed as having huge chests, abs and biceps (Davey, 2010). This has influenced both men and women into eating behaviors that they think might lead them to such desired physical appearances. This have, as a result, brought about anorexia, which is the habit of refusing to eat the right amount of food the body deserves as per the age or sex to maintain a certain body shape or figure, and bulimia, which is the excessive consumption of food that is more than the body requires then inducing vomiting or use of laxatives (Hernandez & Blazer, 2006).

Research has shown that some eating behaviors are cultivated by parents to their kids. Hernandez & Blazer, (2006), noted that parents will bring up their kids the way they were taught by their parents, tutors or even the internet. They will, therefore, ensure that their children eat what they know is right at particular times. A study conducted by Davey, (2010), showed that mothers tend to raise their girls to be like them while boys are made to emulate their fathers’ eating behaviors. At the same time, parents powerfully shape their children’s experiences with their eating behaviors. They provide the environment and genes for their children. They teach their children to adopt to the adult diet which is diverse for different families. Parents who fail to afford a healthy diet will influence poor eating behaviors to their children.

Culture, on the other hand, plays a major role in influencing eating behaviors. Some people might have healthier eating habits than others according to their diverse culture. Due to the same reasons, people from certain cultures tend to lead healthier lives than others. Eating habits effected by a certain culture is most of the times, not subject to change. A white woman might tend to be more concerned on what they eat as compared to an Asian or Black woman.

In summary, both nature and nurture influence the eating behaviors in children and adults. They affect the strategies laid in influencing positive or negative eating behaviors. If for instance diabetes is common in a family, then nature is responsible for that but if one is influenced by parents or friends to eat junk food, then nurture takes over. However, according to research, nurture controls the eating habits more than nature.


Davey, T. M. (2010). Eating behavior. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.

Hernandez, L. M., & Blazer, D. G. (2006). Genes, behavior, and the social environment: Moving beyond the nature/nurture debate. Washington. D.C: National academy press