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The need for public policies to promote healthier food consumption: A comment on Wansink and Chandon (2014)

  • Roberto, Christina A.
  • Pomeranz, Jennifer L.
  • Fisher, Jennifer O.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 3, 4, 7, 6, 3
  • 1 Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • 2 Harvard School of Public Health
  • 3 United States
  • 4 Department of Public Health
  • 5 College of Health Professionals and Social Work
  • 6 Temple University
  • 7 Center for Obesity Research and Education
Published Article
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Accepted Date
Mar 03, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2014.03.001


Current approaches to addressing obesity have fallen short. This is largely due to the many environmental forces that undermine people's self-regulatory capacity to be personally responsible for their food choices. Novel insights from the social sciences are needed to inform voluntary, health-promoting actions by companies, institutions, and citizens as well as the design of public health policies. Voluntary interventions that rely on nudges should complement traditional public health strategies such as taxation and restriction of child-targeted marketing in schools. In this commentary, we discuss four food policy issues that would benefit from consumer psychology research: (a) the restriction of food marketing to children, (b) provision of nutrition information through food labels, (c) improving school food environments, and (d) placing limits on portion sizes. Identifying effective solutions for obesity will require approaches that integrate psychological, public health, and legal perspectives and methods.

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