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Am J Public Health. 2012 Feb;102(2):207-11. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300405. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Appealing to vanity: could potential appearance improvement motivate fruit and vegetable consumption?

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Perception Lab, School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK.


Fruit and vegetable consumption is inadequate among adults in the United States; this contributes to preventable morbidity and mortality. More effective dietary intervention strategies are needed. Recently, interventions that advertise the consequences of behavior for appearance have been successful in modifying sun-exposure habits and tobacco use. Such an approach might also facilitate dietary improvement. Consumption of carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables positively affects skin color, which influences perceptions of health and attractiveness, and promoting such an effect may motivate target audiences to increase consumption of this important food group. This approach represents a novel direction for the field and is potentially suitable for cost-effective, population-level dissemination through the visual media.

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