Derek Ebot-Akoachere, Mercer University College of Pharmacy
An estimated 396 million adults in the world were found to be obese in 2005. This may increase to 1.12 billion in 2030 if current trends remain unabated.  The Food and Drug Administration is fighting to curb this health issue by food labeling and education campaigns.  People tend to rate foods they perceive as healthy to be less tasty  because they are labeled with less appealing descriptors,  which may render health-focused labeling counter-effective. This begs the question: what if healthy foods were labeled with more appealing descriptors?
|Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption |
|Design||Observational; N= 8,279|
|Objective||To determine the relationship between indulgent vegetable description and change in vegetable consumption|
|Study Groups||Indulgent, basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive|
|Methods||Means were compared using analysis of variance. Sample size included undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff who ate lunch at the university cafeteria. No changes were made to how the vegetables were prepared or served.
Descriptors for the different labeling groups included the following: indulgent – rich buttery roasted sweet corn; basic – corn; healthy restrictive – reduced-sodium corn; healthy positive – vitamin-rich corn.
|Primary Outcome Measure||Consumption in vegetables and mass of vegetables consumed|
|Adverse Events||Common Adverse Events: N/A|
|Serious Adverse Events: N/A|
|Percentage that Discontinued due to Adverse Events: N/A|
|Study Author Conclusions||Labeling vegetables with indulgent descriptions increased the number of people choosing vegetables as well as the amount of vegetables consumed.|
These results challenge existing solutions that aim to promote healthy eating by highlighting health properties or benefits and extend previous research that used other creative labeling strategies. The amount of increase in individual consumption was not determined and the short duration of the study may warrant a larger study with subgroups analyses. The effect of food cost, which could be a determinant of consumption, was overlooked.
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