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Mirror, mirror, on the menu: Visual reminders of overweight stimulate healthier meal choices

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  • Tobias Otterbring
  • ,
  • P. Shams, Karlstad University

This study examined whether viewing an overweight (vs. normal weight or no) female on a food menu influences women's visual attention toward healthy and unhealthy menu alternatives and, in turn, their actual food choices. Participants (N = 121) viewed a food menu depicting healthy and unhealthy food options, with their calorie content stated, and selected the food option they were most willing to eat. Depending on condition, the menu featured an overweight female (unhealthy), a normal weight female (healthy), or no female (control). Participants in the unhealthy condition looked more at healthy (vs. unhealthy) meal alternatives than participants in the other conditions and were more inclined to choose healthy food options with lower calorie content, with visual attention toward healthy and unhealthy meal alternatives mediating the effect of experimental condition on calorie content and food choices. These results suggest that exposure to overweight women in food settings may make customers more motivated to choose healthier meals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • Body type, Eye tracking, Food choice, Overweight stereotype, Visual attention

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