Investigating the impact of a health game on implicit attitudes towards food and food choice behaviour of young adults
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Number of pages
SourceAppetite, 128, (2018), pp. 294-302
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
SW OZ BSI OGG
SubjectCommunication and Media; Developmental Psychopathology
Improving diets by stimulating fruit and vegetable consumption might be beneficial, in particular when they substitute energy-dense products. The aim of present study was to investigate whether a health game can be used to positively affect healthy implicit attitudes (IAs) towards food and subsequent food choice behaviour of young adults. A 2 (Time: baseline vs. post-test) x 2 (Condition: health game vs. control game) x 2 (Baseline IAs: healthy IAs vs. less healthy IAs) mixed-subjects design was used with 125 participants (age: M = 20.17, SD = 1.88). IAs towards food were assessed at baseline and post-test using an Implicit Association Test (IAT). Additionally, food choice behaviour was assessed after game play. At baseline, the majority of participants had healthy IAs (i.e., favouring fruit over chocolate snacks). At post-test, significantly less healthy IAs were observed in the control condition, while this reduction was not significant in the health game condition. Regarding food choice behaviour, participants with healthy baseline IAs were more likely to select fruit in the health game condition than participants with healthy baseline IAs in the control game condition. However, participants with less healthy baseline IAs were less likely to select fruit in the health game condition than in the control condition. We found tentative support that health games can be used to influence IAs towards food and positively affect food choice behaviour. However, this influence was only observed for those with healthy baseline IAs. The current version of the health game would primarily benefit those already healthy and could negatively affect those that need the intervention most, so modifications are recommendable.
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