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Cafeteria Online: Nudges for Healthier Food Choices in a University Cafeteria—A Randomized Online Experiment

  • Many people do not consume as much healthy food as recommended. Nudging has been identified as a promising intervention strategy to increase the consumption of healthy food. The present study analyzed the effects of three body shape nudges (thin, thick, or Giacometti artwork) on food ordering and assessed the mediating role of being aware of the nudge. Students (686) and employees (218) of a German university participated in an online experimental study. After randomization, participants visited a realistic online cafeteria and composed a meal for themselves. Under experimental conditions, participants were exposed to one out of three nudges while choosing dishes: (1) thin body shape, (2) thick body shape, and (3) the Giacometti artwork nudge. The Giacometti nudge resulted in more orders for salad among employees. The thin and thick body shape nudges did not change dish orders. Awareness of the nudge mediated the numbers of calories ordered when using the Giacometti or thin body shape nudges. These findings provide useful insights for health interventions in occupational and public health sectors using nudges. Our study contributes to the research on the Giacometti nudge by showing its effectiveness when participants are aware (it is effective under conditions where it is consciously perceived).

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Document Type:Article
Author:Christine Kawa, Patrizia M. Ianiro-Dahm, Jan F. H. Nijhuis, Wim H. Gijselaers
Parent Title (English):International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Article Number:12924
Number of pages:13
Place of publication:Basel
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2021/12/08
Copyright:© 2021 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Funding Information:This research received no external funding.
Keyword:body shape nudge; cafeteria; food choice; health intervention; nudge awareness
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Entry in this database:2021/12/09
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International