Effects of Appetizing Descriptions and General Action-Inaction Goals on Attitudes and Behaviors About Healthy Food

Atlanta, GA, USA


Fruit and vegetable consumption is crucial for managing a health weight (Rolls et al., 2004) and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease (Ness & Fowles, 1997). Yet only about 10 percent of adults consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (Lee-Kwan et al., 2017). How can we increase healthy food purchasing? Research by Turnwald et al. (2017) found that vegetables described indulgently were more frequently consumed. In the current study, we explored whether describing healthy foods as appetizing (versus healthy) interacted with priming people to an action or inaction goal (a framework described by Albarracin & Handley, 2011) in changing attitudes about an intentions to buy healthy foods. Preliminary results (N = 115) after conducting a two-way ANCOVA revealed a significant interaction of food description and general action and inaction goals on likelihood of eating (p = 0.0258) and buying (p = 0.0376) healthy foods, such that framing the food as appetizing after an action prime lead to increased intent to eat and buy these foods.


PI: Susannah Albert-Chandhok, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Faculty Advisor: Allison Earl, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Co-Investigator: Clint McKenna, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Albarracin, D., & Handley, I. M. (2011). The time for doing is not the time for change: effects of general action and inaction goals on attitude retrieval and attitude change. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(6), 983.

Lee-Kwan SH, Moore LV, Blanck HM, Harris DM, Galuska D. (2017). Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep;66:1241?1247. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6645a1.

Ness AR, Fowles JW. Fruit and vegetables and cardiovascular disease: a review. Int J Epidemiol 1997;26:1-13.

Reed, J., Frazao, E., & Itskowitz, R. (2004). How much do Americans pay for fruits and vegetables?. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Rolls BJ, Ello-Martin JA, Tohill BC. (2004). What can intervention studies tell us about the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and weight management? Nutr Reviews,62:1-17.

Turnwald, B. P., Boles, D. Z., & Crum, A. J. (2017). Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets. JAMA Internal Medicine, 177(8), 1216-1218.

Susannah Chandhok
Ph.D. Student in Social Psychology

Ph.D. student in social psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying technology, social connection, and well-being.