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Is it Fun or Exercise? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking

Werle, Carolina, Brian Wansink, and Collin Payne (2015), “Is it Fun or Exercise? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking,” Marketing Letters, 26:4, 691-702.

21 Pages Posted: 28 May 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

Carolina O.C. Werle

Grenoble Ecole de Management

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Collin R. Payne

New Mexico State University

Date Written: May 27, 2014

Abstract

Do consumers eat more when they exercise more? If so, the implications could ripple through the multi-billion dollar fitness and food industries and have implications for both consumers and health care providers. Three studies – two field experiments and one observational field study – triangulate on this potential compensatory mechanism between physical activity and food intake. The findings showed that when physical activity was perceived as fun (e.g., when it’s labeled as a scenic walk rather than an exercise walk) people subsequently consume less dessert at mealtime, and consume fewer hedonic snacks. A final observational field study during a competitive race showed that the more fun people rated the race as being, the less likely they were to compensate with a hedonic snack afterwards. Engaging in a physical activity seems to trigger the search for reward when individuals perceive it as exercise but not when they perceive it as fun. Key implications for the fitness industry and for health care professionals are detailed along with the simple advice to consumers to make certain they make their physical activity routine fun in order to avoid compensation.

Keywords: food consumption, compensation, physical activity, licensing effects, hedonic foods, framing

Suggested Citation

Werle, Carolina O.C. and Wansink, Brian and Payne, Collin R., Is it Fun or Exercise? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking (May 27, 2014). Werle, Carolina, Brian Wansink, and Collin Payne (2015), “Is it Fun or Exercise? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking,” Marketing Letters, 26:4, 691-702.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2442383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2442383

Carolina O.C. Werle

Grenoble Ecole de Management ( email )

12 Rue Pierre Semard
Grenoble, Cedex 01 38000
France

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Collin R. Payne

New Mexico State University ( email )

College of Business
Las Cruces, NM 88003
United States

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