College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Would You Like Fries (380 Calories) With That? Menu Labeling Mitigates The Impact Of Weight-Based Stereotype Threat On Food Choice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-8-2013

Keywords

Menu Labeling, Obesity, Self-Regulation, Stereotype Threats, Weight Stigma

Publication Title

Social Psychological and Personality Science

ISSN

1948-5506

Volume

5

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

Policies that focus on self-regulation are being implemented to reduce obesity. One policy is menu labeling, the provision of calorie information on restaurant menus, which has evidenced mixed results. To illuminate the role of psychological processes, we examined the effect of weight-based stereotype threat on food choice as a function of body mass index (BMI). In Study 1, participants under stereotype threat ordered food containing more calories from a conventional menu that did not present calorie information as BMI increased, whereas no association between BMI and calories was found in the control (no threat) condition. In Study 2, participants under stereotype threat ordered more calories from a conventional menu as BMI increased, whereas no association between BMI and calories was found among participants who ordered from a calorie menu, demonstrating that menu labeling eliminated the stereotype threat effect. Theoretical and practical implications for stereotype threat and policy interventions are discussed.

DOI

10.1177/1948550613499941