Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Subtle goal reminders, known as primes, can offset hedonic effects of food and facilitate health behavior

Date:
July 10, 2012
Source:
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior
Summary:
New research introduces novel cost-effective strategies to facilitate healthy eating among weight-conscious consumers. A number of experiments now suggest that simply adding words related to health and weight on posters, restaurant menu's, or recipe cards can stimulate healthy food choices among dieters and overweight individuals, in a variety of real-life settings.

Research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) introduces novel cost-effective strategies to facilitate healthy eating among weight-conscious consumers. A number of experiments, by Esther Papies and colleagues of Utrecht University, The Netherlands, now suggest that simply adding words related to health and weight on posters, restaurant menu's, or recipe cards can stimulate healthy food choices among dieters and overweight individuals, in a variety of real-life settings.

Related Articles


Affecting the choices of these individuals is especially relevant since their eating behavior is heavily influenced by attractive food temptations which abound in our daily lives. The current living environment in most Western societies makes weight control a difficult enterprise for health-conscious individuals. Numerous studies have now revealed that conscious intentions for healthy eating and dieting are not sufficient for healthy eating pattern -- rather, consumers are heavily influenced by their eating habits, and by food temptations in their environment. Furthermore, people struggling with their weight are especially susceptible to the effects of such easily available food temptations. Chronic dieters and overweight people show strong hedonic responses to tasty, high-calorie food cues in both behavioral and neuro-imaging studies, and easily overeat when they are around attractive food. Thus, it is especially important to bolster these individuals against these detrimental effects of our "obesity promoting environment."

Previous research by Papies and colleagues has shown that priming methods can help dieters eat fewer high-calorie tasty snacks. In a field experiment, customers of a local butcher store were observed on days when a poster announcing a dieting recipe had been mounted on the door, and on other days when the poster was not present. When the diet recipe reminded dieters of their health goal, they ate less of the bite-size meat snacks the store offered than on other days. Customers who were not concerned with controlling their weight were not affected. Thus, goal priming is an effective strategy to help weight-concerned individuals translate their intentions into behavior, especially when faced with temptation .

More recent experiments have replicated this finding in different settings. A study now under review shows that subtle goal primes incorporated into the menu of a restaurant lead overweight and weight-concerned individuals to order more healthy meals, such as salads.

Most recently, this priming method was applied in a field experiment in a grocery store. Here, overweight and diet-concerned individuals who were handed a recipe flyer with health-related words before shopping bought less unhealthy snacks, such as chips, cookies, and cake. Interestingly, this was hardly affected by how much attention participants said they had paid to the recipes. It seems very little conscious awareness is needed for such primes to affect health behavior. Although preliminary, these findings are especially promising: food decisions made in the grocery store affect eating behavior at home, and that means the whole family could benefit.

This technique has great potential as an intervention to help weight control -- it is unobtrusive, easy to implement and low in cost making it attractive to policy makers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "Subtle goal reminders, known as primes, can offset hedonic effects of food and facilitate health behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120710093812.htm>.
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. (2012, July 10). Subtle goal reminders, known as primes, can offset hedonic effects of food and facilitate health behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120710093812.htm
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "Subtle goal reminders, known as primes, can offset hedonic effects of food and facilitate health behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120710093812.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman who blogged for years about her son&apos;s constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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