Nav: Home

Study reveals how motivation affects nutrition and diet

March 15, 2019

New research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests that people with a positive attitude are more likely to eat healthily.

The study examined the motivational role of a theory called regulatory focus on consumers' involvement in nutrition, that is, the time and effort they put in to finding out about nutrition and seeking out nutritious food.

It also examined the effect of nutrition involvement on consumers' knowledge of nutrition and dietary behaviour.

Regulatory focus suggests that there are fundamental motivational differences among people, with two aspects - promotion and prevention - guiding behaviour. Individuals with a promotion focus are concerned with pursuing positive outcomes, for example engaging in healthy behaviours, while those with a prevention focus will seek to prevent negative consequences, for example by avoiding unhealthy behaviours.

The findings, published in the journal Appetite, show that having a promotion focus leads to consumer's involvement in nutrition, which in turn leads to nutrition knowledge and diet adjustment following advice, for example from media, doctors, family members or friends. Having a prevention focus had no effect on nutrition involvement.

It also found that the effect of promotion focus on nutritional involvement was greater among high income consumers. The evidence suggested that the effect of promotion focus was stronger among men than women, but the authors say this is to be expected because previous research has shown that women have higher levels of nutritional involvement, irrespective of having a promotion focus.

Lead author Kishore Pillai, professor of retail and marketing at UEA's Norwich Business School, said the findings provided insights about nutrition-related consumer attitudes and behaviours and were important given the growing rates of obesity and conditions such as diabetes.

"The higher aspirational levels of promotion focused consumers will lead to greater involvement with nutrition to enhance their well-being," said Prof Pillai. "While both promotion and prevention focused individuals will be motivated to maintain good health, the former are more likely to employ approach strategies such as nutritional involvement.

"Consumer decisions regarding eating behaviours and nutrition can lead to consequences such as illness and obesity that have direct public health policy implications. Obesity is preventable and increasing consumer involvement in nutrition can help achieve this.

"Consumers are likely to receive advice regarding nutrition from multiple sources in their day-to-day lives. Public agencies can encourage promotional focus and in turn involvement in nutrition through appropriate communication. But, as the results of this study indicate, the effectiveness of this intervention will vary between high and low income groups and is likely to vary between males and females."

Prof Pillai added: "Given the problems of obesity and illnesses directly linked to unhealthy eating habits, the direct effect of nutrition involvement on dietary behaviours demonstrated in this study underscores the importance of investing in efforts to promote nutrition involvement from a public health policy perspective."

The study involved 1125 consumers in Taiwan, where dietary habits have been changing and there have been increases in obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Participants were questioned about their nutrition involvement and knowledge, and diet adjustment.
-end-
'Regulatory focus, nutrition involvement, and nutrition knowledge', Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai, Yong-Siang Liang, Desmond Thwaites, Piyush Sharma, Ronald Goldsmith, is published in Appetite (2019).

University of East Anglia

Related Obesity Articles:

Obesity is in the eye of the beholder
Doctors have a specific definition of what it means to be overweight or obese, but in the social world, gender, race and generation matter a lot for whether people are judged as 'thin enough' or 'too fat.'
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
Three in 4 don't know obesity causes cancer
Three out of four (75 percent) people in the UK are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer, according to a new Cancer Research UK report published today.
Obesity on the rise in Indonesia
Obesity is on the rise in Indonesia, one of the largest studies of the double burden of malnutrition in children has revealed.
Obesity rates are not declining in US youth
A clear and significant increase in obesity continued from 1999 through 2014, according to an analysis of data on United States children and adolescents age 2 to 19 years.
How does the environment affect obesity?
Researchers will be examining how agricultural and food processing practices may affect brown fat activity directly or indirectly.
Obesity Day to highlight growing obesity epidemic in Europe
The growing obesity epidemic, which is predicted to affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030, will be the focus of European Obesity Day to be held on May 21.
Understanding obesity from the inside out
Researchers developed a new laboratory method that allowed them to identify GABA as a key player in the complex brain processes that control appetite and metabolism.
Epigenetic switch for obesity
Obesity can sometimes be shut down.
Immunological Aspects of Obesity
This FASEB Conference focuses on the interactions between obesity and immune cells, focusing in particular on how inflammation in various organs influences obesity and obesity-related complications.

Related Obesity Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".