Over the past few decades, behavioral economics, social psychology, and neuroscience research has suggested that people are often irrational and their choices are frequently the consequence of automatic, hard-wired, instinctual processes made without conscious awareness. This paper reviews some of the evidence that dietary behaviors are, in large part, the consequence of automatic response to contextual food cues, many of which lead to increased caloric consumption and poor dietary choices. Findings from the review suggest that most people lack the capacity to consistently make wise food choices given the habitual nature of eating, the rapidity with which people must make eating decisions, and the cognitive depletion associated with decision-making.
Contextual Influences on Eating Behaviours: Heuristic Processing and Dietary Choices
The healthfulness of foods and beverages found in retail food stores differs widely across the United States, both by location of the store as well as by store type. Some communities have limited access to stores that carry healthful staple foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, and … More
Children and adolescents see between 4,500 and 6,000 food ads on TV each year, the majority of which are for products high in sugar and fat and low in essential nutrients. In April 2011, a coalition of federal authorities known as the Interagency Working Group on Foods Marketed to Children … More
The marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth is a major public health concern. Children in the United States grow up surrounded by food and beverage marketing, which primarily promotes products with excessive amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat, and inadequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. … More