Designing for Healthier Food Choices (08-09-19)

A Kao-lead team linked what we’re looking at with what we choose to eat; we make healthier choices when looking at nature images than we do otherwise.  The researchers found that “Visual exposure to natural versus urban scenes leads to healthier dietary choices. . . .  Successful weight loss requires individuals to focus on distant health gains while sacrificing immediate culinary pleasures. Time discounting refers to the tendency to discount larger future gains in favor of smaller immediate rewards. Hence, lower discounting should lead to better dietary practices and healthier dietary choices. . . . The current study examined whether viewing pictures of natural scenes induces lower discounting, leading to healthier dietary choices. . . . . participants who viewed pictures of natural scenes chose a smaller amount of sugar for their reward drinks compared with participants viewing the urban scene and the control condition. The discounting rate mediated the association between exposure to natural landscapes and a smaller amount of sugar chosen for the reward drink (i.e., a healthier dietary choice).”

Chien-Che Kao, Wen-Hisung Wu, and Wen-Bin Chiou.  “Exposure to Nature May Induce Lower Discounting and Lead to Healthier Dietary Choices.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.101333