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Nat Hum Behav. 2019 Apr 15. doi: 10.1038/s41562-019-0586-6. [Epub ahead of print]

A values-alignment intervention protects adolescents from the effects of food marketing.

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University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, IL, USA.
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, IL, USA.


Adolescents are exposed to extensive marketing for junk food, which drives overconsumption by creating positive emotional associations with junk food1-6. Here we counter this influence with an intervention that frames manipulative food marketing as incompatible with important adolescent values, including social justice and autonomy from adult control. In a preregistered, longitudinal, randomized, controlled field experiment, we show that this framing intervention reduces boys' and girls' implicit positive associations with junk food marketing and substantially improves boys' daily dietary choices in the school cafeteria. Both of these effects were sustained for at least three months. These findings suggest that reframing unhealthy dietary choices as incompatible with important values could be a low-cost, scalable solution to producing lasting, internalized change in adolescents' dietary attitudes and choices.


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