The impact of health vs. non-health goals on individuals' lifestyle program choices: A discrete choice experiment approach

Tim M. Benning*, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Theo A. Arentze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Goals play an important role in the choices that individuals make. Yet, there is no clear approach of how to incorporate goals in discrete choice experiments. In this paper, we present such an approach and illustrate it in the context of lifestyle programs. Furthermore, we investigate how non-health vs. health goals affect individuals' choices via non-goal attributes. Methods: We used an unlabeled discrete choice experiment about lifestyle programs based on two experimental conditions in which either a non-health goal (i.e., looking better) or a health goal (i.e., increasing life expectancy) was presented to respondents as a fixed attribute level for the goal attribute. Respondents were randomly distributed over the experimental conditions. Eventually, we used data from 407 Dutch adults who reported to be overweight (n = 212 for the non-health goal, and n = 195 for the health goal). Results: Random parameter logit model estimates show that the type of goal significantly (p < 0.05) moderates the effect that the attribute diet has on lifestyle program choice, but that this is not the case for the attributes exercise per week and expected weight loss. Conclusions: A flexible diet is more important for individuals with a non-health goal than for individuals with a health goal. Therefore, we advise policy makers to use information on goal interactions for developing new policies and communication strategies to target population segments that have different goals. Furthermore, we recommend researchers to consider the impact of goals when designing discrete choice experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number411
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded through a Netspar (Network for studies on pensions, aging, and retirement) grant and supported by the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). The funding sources were not involved in the study design, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in writing the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


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