Changing the default. How to promote healthier food choices

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

Abstract

The current environment promotes overeating, hence contributing to the rapid increase in obesity prevalence. To curb the obesity epidemic, it is important that people make healthier food choices. Lately more researchers and health professionals have argued for obesity policy. A public policy tool rising in popularity is ‘nudging’. The goal of nudging is to alter people’s choices without taking any alternatives away. This can be achieved by making small changes in the environment. One example of a nudge is changing the default. Changing the default option can markedly change one’s choice behaviour. Whether this nudge is also effective regarding food choice behaviour is not that clear yet. In an online study, participants were asked to choose a hamburger from a menu. After choosing the hamburger they were randomly divided over three conditions regarding the side dish they received. In the first condition participants received by default a large portion of fries. In the second condition participants received by default a small portion of fries, and in the third condition participants could choose between the two portion sizes. In both the first and second condition participants were given the option to switch to the other portion size. Results showed that especially when hungry, participants choose the side dish that was presented as the default more often. This suggests that a default change may indeed help people make healthier food choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages475-475
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
EventThe 37th Annual Meeting of the British Feeding and Drinking Group -
Duration: 4 Apr 20135 Apr 2013

Conference

ConferenceThe 37th Annual Meeting of the British Feeding and Drinking Group
Period4/04/135/04/13

Cite this

Giesen, J. C. A. H., Geyskens, K., Goukens, C., & Havermans, R. C. (2013). Changing the default. How to promote healthier food choices. 475-475. Abstract from The 37th Annual Meeting of the British Feeding and Drinking Group, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2013.06.026