Investigating the impact of a health game on implicit attitudes towards food and food choice behaviour of young adults

Eva E. Alblas*, Frans Folkvord, Doeschka J. Anschütz, Jonathan van ’t Riet, Isabela Granic, Paul Ketelaar, Moniek Buijzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalAppetite
Volume128
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The game was developed by E. van den Berge from the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University. E. Alblas, J. Van ‘t Riet, P. Ketelaar, I. Granic, and M. Buijzen developed the study concept and contributed to the study design. A. van Helvoort collected the data. E. Alblas analysed and interpreted the data under supervision of F. Folkvord, D.J. Anschütz and M. Buijzen. E. Alblas drafted the manuscript, F. Folkvord, D.J. Anschütz, J. Van ‘t Riet, I. Granic, P. Ketelaar and M. Buijzen provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission. The Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University funded this research.

Funding Information:
The game was developed by E. van den Berge from the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University. E. Alblas, J. Van ‘t Riet, P. Ketelaar, I. Granic, and M. Buijzen developed the study concept and contributed to the study design. A. van Helvoort collected the data. E. Alblas analysed and interpreted the data under supervision of F. Folkvord, D.J. Anschütz and M. Buijzen. E. Alblas drafted the manuscript, F. Folkvord, D.J. Anschütz, J. Van ‘t Riet, I. Granic, P. Ketelaar and M. Buijzen provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission. The Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University funded this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

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