Now, a new study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that a simple and brief intervention can provide lasting protection for adolescents against these harmful effects of food marketing.
In the study, "A Values-Alignment Intervention Protects Adolescents from the Effects of Food Marketing," published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Chicago Booth's Christopher J. Bryan, University of Texas at Austin's David S. Yeager, and Booth PhD candidate Cintia P. Hinojosa find that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. The method works in part by tapping into teens' natural desire to rebel against authority.
Food - Marketing - Associations - Junk - Food
"Food marketing is deliberately designed to create positive emotional associations with junk food, to connect it with feelings of happiness and fun," said Bryan.
Among the two biggest findings in the experiment: The intervention produced an enduring change in both boys' and girls' immediate, gut-level, emotional reactions to junk food marketing messages. And teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria.
Things - Kids - Gut - Reaction - Junk
"One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods," said Bryan.
A preliminary study took place among eighth graders at a Texas middle school in 2016. The researchers went into classrooms and had one group of students read a fact-based, exposé-style article on big food companies. The article framed the corporations as manipulative marketers trying to hook consumers on addictive junk food for financial gain. The stories also described deceptive product labels and advertising practices that target vulnerable populations, including very young children and the...
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