Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?

Date:
April 20, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Consumers will choose and eat more indulgent food after they see someone who is overweight -- unless they consciously think about their health goals, according to a new study.

Consumers will choose and eat more indulgent food after they see someone who is overweight -- unless they consciously think about their health goals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Why do people often think back on a pleasant evening with friends and realize that they ate more and worse food than they wish they had?" ask authors Margaret C. Campbell (Leeds School of Business) and Gina S. Mohr (University of Colorado, Boulder). If any of those friends carry a few extra pounds, just being in their presence could trigger what the authors call a "negative stereotype."

The research suggests that merely seeing someone who is strongly associated with an undesirable behavior leads to surprising increases in the behavior. "Seeing someone overweight leads to a temporary decrease in a person's own felt commitment to his or her health goal," the authors explain.

In one study, researchers asked people who were walking through a lobby if they would take a quick survey. The surveys had photos of an overweight person, a person of normal weight, or a lamp. After completing the survey, the researchers asked respondents to help themselves from a bowl of candy as a thank you. "People who completed the survey that included a picture of someone who was overweight took more candies on average than people who saw either of the other two pictures," the authors write.

In subsequent studies, people who were invited to do a cookie taste test ate twice as many cookies or candy after seeing someone who was overweight. This was true even if the participants had a goal to maintain a healthy weight and believed that cookies and candy can lead to weight problems.

Two main strategies served to counteract people's tendency to overeat when in the presence of overweight individuals: thinking about health goals and being reminded of the link between eating and becoming overweight.

Because weight problems can spread through social networks, the authors have advice for people who are concerned about overindulging. "Thinking about personal health goals and reminding oneself of the undesirable effects of eating indulgent food at the time of possible consumption can help people avoid eating too much," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Margaret C. Campbell and Gina S. Mohr. Seeing is Eating: How and When Activation of a Negative Stereotype Increases Stereotype-Conducive Behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2011 (published online March 17, 2011) DOI: 10.1086/659754

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111435.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, April 20). Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111435.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111435.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins