To encourage healthy eating, make it about rebellion

Apr 18, 2019

Obesity among young people is a well-known public health problem in the United States, and attempts to influence teens’ nutritional choices have had limited success. But research by Chicago Booth’s Christopher J. Bryan, along with a team of researchers, suggests that one way to convince teenagers to eat healthier is to tap into their spirit of social justice and rebellion. Bryan and his coauthors find that when teenagers read about the tactics junk-food companies use to attract and hook customers—including small children—for the sake of profits, they were more likely to choose healthy snack options. What’s more, this treatment effect persisted for months.