How to Develop Innovative Solutions to Disrupt Unhealthy Eating?
The objective of this study was to identify physical, social, and intrapersonal cues that were associated with the consumption of sweetened beverages and sweet and salty snacks among adolescents from lower SES neighborhoods.
Students were recruited from high schools with a minimum level of 25% free or reduced cost lunches. Using ecological momentary assessment, participants (N = 158) were trained to answer brief questionnaires on handheld PDA devices: (a) each time they ate or drank, (b) when prompted randomly, and (c) once each evening. Data were collected over 7 days for each participant. Participants reported their location (e.g., school grounds, home), mood, social environment, activities (e.g., watching TV, texting), cravings, food cues (e.g., saw a snack), and food choices.
Results showed that having unhealthy snacks or sweet drinks among adolescents was associated with being at school, being with friends, feeling lonely or bored, craving a drink or snack, and being exposed to food cues. Surprisingly, sweet drink consumption was associated with exercising. Watching TV was associated with consuming sweet snacks but not with salty snacks or sweet drinks. These findings identify important environmental and intrapersonal cues to poor snacking choices that may be applied to interventions designed to disrupt these food-related, cue–behavior linked habits.
Grenard, J. L., Stacy, A. W., Shiffman, S., Baraldi, A. N., MacKinnon, D. P., Lockhart, G., ... & Ames, S. L. (2013). Sweetened drink and snacking cues in adolescents. A study using ecological momentary assessment. Appetite, 67, 61-73.