Joint Seminar with CBDR

Wednesday, April 7 , 2010. 3:00-4:30pm.
Porter Hall 223D, Carnegie Mellon University

Influence of exercise advertising on actual food consumption

Presenter: Dr Ellen van Kleef
Assistant Professor, Wageningen University. Currently Marie Curie research fellow at the Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University

Numerous campaigns have been initiated to encourage people to be more physically active. Past research has shown that food consumption decisions are influenced by promotional messages such as food advertising. What has gone largely unexplored is the effect of exercise advertising on food intake. This study experimentally tested the effects of exposure to exercise commercials on food intake at a lunch meal as compared to the effects of control commercials. Before lunch, 125 participants (71 women, 54 men) watched 8 commercials, either all related to exercise (n=67) or neutral products or services (i.e. car insurance, washer) (n=58). The post-lunch questionnaire included body mass index, exercise habits, motivation and dietary restraint. Despite marginally higher ratings of hunger, participants being exposed to the exercise commercials reduced their caloric intake of the meal by 21.7 % relative to the control condition. Additionally, watching the exercise messages made participants perceive the lunch as healthier and higher in liking. Although restraint eating style did not have impact on food intake, we also find that this reduction of intake was more pronounced for overweight individuals. Some relevant differences were observed between normal-weight and overweight participants which suggest that the explanation might lie in the health and body consciousness evoked by exercise messages. These results imply that messages to be active remind people of the link between food intake and physical activity and prompt them to change their food intake. These results highlight the need for increased awareness that physical activity messages have powerful influences not only exercise behavior, but also closely related behaviors such as eating.