Targeting implicit approach reactions to snack food in children: Effects on intake
SourceHealth Psychology, 35, 8, (2016), pp. 919-922
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
SW OZ BSI SCP
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Communication and Media
Objective: Implicit approach reactions to energy-dense snack food can facilitate unhealthy eating in children. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test whether modifying implicit reactions to snack food by means of a go/no-go task can reduce consumption of this food. The effectiveness of this intervention on actual snack intake after exposure to a food or a control advertisement was tested. Method: Children (133; age range = 7-10 years) played an advergame promoting either energy-dense food or nonfood products. Subsequently, children conducted either a go/no-go food task in which the advertised food was consistently associated with no-go cues, or a go/no-go control task in which colored circles were consistently associated with no-go cues. Afterward, they could eat the advertised food and a new food. Candy intake was weighed and caloric intake was determined. Results: Results show that children who performed the go/no-go food task consumed significantly and considerably fewer calories (34%) than the children who carried out the control task. No main effect of type of advertisement was found. Furthermore, the effect of the go/no-go food task was similar after each type of advertisement, similar for advertised and new foods, and was significant for both girls and boys. Conclusion: Targeting implicit reactions to high-energy snacks proved effective in decreasing intake of snacks in children. Furthermore, the previously reported stimulating effect of food promoting advergames on intake may disappear when a short cognitive task is presented directly after the game. Future work should evaluate the clinical implications of these findings.
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