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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Jul;17(7):1451-2. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.16. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Immediate increase in food intake following exercise messages.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA.


Communications to stimulate weight loss include exercise-promotion messages that often produce unsatisfactory results due to compensatory behavioral and metabolic mechanisms triggered by physical activity. This research investigated potential automatic facilitation of eating immediately after exercise messages in the absence of actual exercise. Two controlled experiments demonstrated greater than control food intake following exposure to print messages typical of exercise campaigns as well as subliminal presentation of action words associated with exercise (e.g., "active"). These inadvertent effects may explain the limited efficacy of exercise-promotion programs for weight loss, particularly when systematic dietary guidelines are absent.

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