Food Compensation: Do Exercise Ads Change Food Intake?

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Vol. 8, No. 6, 2011

10 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2011

See all articles by Ellen van Kleef

Ellen van Kleef

Wageningen UR

Mitsuru Shimizu

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Date Written: October 19, 2010

Abstract

Background: Past research has shown that promotional messages such as food advertising influence food consumption. However, what has gone largely unexplored is the effect of exercise advertising on food intake. This study experimentally tested the effects of exposure to exercise commercials on food intake at a lunch meal as compared to the effects of control commercials.

Methods: Prior to eating lunch, 125 participants (71 women, 54 men) watched 8 commercials, either all related to exercise or fitness (n = 67) or neutral products (i.e. car insurance) (n = 58). The meal consisted of a pasta dish with tomato sauce, salad and chocolate pudding. The post-lunch questionnaire included questions about body mass index, exercise habits, motivation and dietary restraint.

Results: Participants exposed to exercise commercials reduced their caloric intake by 21.7% relative to the control condition. Additionally, watching exercise messages increased the perceived healthiness and liking of the meal. Although exercise habits and intentions did not moderate the effect of commercial condition on food intake, we also found that this intake reduction was driven by participants with higher body mass index levels.

Conclusions: These results imply that exercise messages may serve as a reminder of the link between food and physical activity and affect food consumption. It also highlights the need for increased awareness that these messages have powerful influences not only on exercise behavior, but also on closely related behaviors such as eating.

Keywords: food compensation, exercise, physical activity, food intake, commercial

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

van Kleef, Ellen and Shimizu, Mitsuru and Wansink, Brian, Food Compensation: Do Exercise Ads Change Food Intake? (October 19, 2010). International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Vol. 8, No. 6, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1762021

Ellen Van Kleef (Contact Author)

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
6706KN
Netherlands

Mitsuru Shimizu

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville ( email )

1 Hairpin Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

Brian Wansink

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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