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EXPRESS: How Communications that Portray Unhealthy Food Consumption Reduce Food Intake Among Dieters
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing  (IF4.5),  Pub Date : 2021-05-04, DOI: 10.1177/07439156211019035
Mia M. Birau, Diogo Hildebrand, Carolina O. C. Werle

Both regulatory agencies and nonprofit organizations seek to understand how different tactics and appeals contained in food and public health advertisements might influence the food intake of an increasingly dieting-concerned population. This article addresses this important issue by examining how consumers who are concerned with their diets react to rich images of unhealthy food consumption. Results of two experiments show that exposure to food advertisements containing unhealthy food consumption imagery reduces food intake among consumers chronically concerned with dieting, whereas a third experiment shows a similar decrease in intended consumption when a public health advertisement portrays the consumption of unhealthy food. These findings in turn offer guidelines for maximizing the effectiveness of messages that attempt to promote healthy eating habits. Additionally, this research provides theoretical contributions to the self-control and mental imagery research domains which have public policy implications for regulatory agencies and nonprofit organizations.