Effect of default menus on food selection and consumption in a college dining hall simulation study

Cynthia Radnitz, Katharine L. Loeb, Kathleen Loralee Keller, Kerri Boutelle, Marlene B. Schwartz, Lauren Todd, Sue Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective To test an obesity prevention strategy derived from behavioural economics (optimal defaults plus delay), focused on changing the college dining hall service method.Design After a uniform pre-load, participants attended an experimental lunch in groups randomized to one of three conditions: a nutrient-dense, lower-fat/energy lunch as an optimal default (OD); a less-nutrient-dense, higher-fat/energy lunch as a suboptimal default (SD); or a free array (FA) lunch. In the OD condition, students were presented a menu depicting healthier vegetarian and omnivore foods as default, with opt-out alternatives (SD menu) available on request with a 15 min wait. In the SD condition, the same menu format was used with the positioning of food items switched. In the FA condition, all choices were presented in uniform fonts and were available immediately.Setting Private rooms designed to provide a small version of a college dining hall, on two campuses of a Northeastern US university.Subjects First-year college students (n 129).Results There was a significant main effect for condition on percentage of optimal choices selected, with 94 % of food choices in the OD condition optimal, 47 % in the FA condition optimal and none in the SD condition optimal. Similarly, energy intake for those in the SD condition significantly exceeded that in the FA condition, which exceeded that in the OD condition.Conclusions Presenting menu items as optimal defaults with a delay had a significant impact on choice and consumption, suggesting that further research into its long-term applicability is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1369
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Fingerprint

Food Preferences
Lunch
Food
Behavioral Economics
Fats
Students
Patients' Rooms
Energy Intake
Obesity
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Radnitz, Cynthia ; Loeb, Katharine L. ; Keller, Kathleen Loralee ; Boutelle, Kerri ; Schwartz, Marlene B. ; Todd, Lauren ; Marcus, Sue. / Effect of default menus on food selection and consumption in a college dining hall simulation study. In: Public Health Nutrition. 2018 ; Vol. 21, No. 7. pp. 1359-1369.
@article{dd54e4775931469f9a8035c6c5ef7d0e,
title = "Effect of default menus on food selection and consumption in a college dining hall simulation study",
abstract = "Objective To test an obesity prevention strategy derived from behavioural economics (optimal defaults plus delay), focused on changing the college dining hall service method.Design After a uniform pre-load, participants attended an experimental lunch in groups randomized to one of three conditions: a nutrient-dense, lower-fat/energy lunch as an optimal default (OD); a less-nutrient-dense, higher-fat/energy lunch as a suboptimal default (SD); or a free array (FA) lunch. In the OD condition, students were presented a menu depicting healthier vegetarian and omnivore foods as default, with opt-out alternatives (SD menu) available on request with a 15 min wait. In the SD condition, the same menu format was used with the positioning of food items switched. In the FA condition, all choices were presented in uniform fonts and were available immediately.Setting Private rooms designed to provide a small version of a college dining hall, on two campuses of a Northeastern US university.Subjects First-year college students (n 129).Results There was a significant main effect for condition on percentage of optimal choices selected, with 94 {\%} of food choices in the OD condition optimal, 47 {\%} in the FA condition optimal and none in the SD condition optimal. Similarly, energy intake for those in the SD condition significantly exceeded that in the FA condition, which exceeded that in the OD condition.Conclusions Presenting menu items as optimal defaults with a delay had a significant impact on choice and consumption, suggesting that further research into its long-term applicability is warranted.",
author = "Cynthia Radnitz and Loeb, {Katharine L.} and Keller, {Kathleen Loralee} and Kerri Boutelle and Schwartz, {Marlene B.} and Lauren Todd and Sue Marcus",
year = "2018",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/S1368980017004220",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "1359--1369",
journal = "Public Health Nutrition",
issn = "1368-9800",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "7",

}

Effect of default menus on food selection and consumption in a college dining hall simulation study. / Radnitz, Cynthia; Loeb, Katharine L.; Keller, Kathleen Loralee; Boutelle, Kerri; Schwartz, Marlene B.; Todd, Lauren; Marcus, Sue.

In: Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 21, No. 7, 01.05.2018, p. 1359-1369.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effect of default menus on food selection and consumption in a college dining hall simulation study

AU - Radnitz, Cynthia

AU - Loeb, Katharine L.

AU - Keller, Kathleen Loralee

AU - Boutelle, Kerri

AU - Schwartz, Marlene B.

AU - Todd, Lauren

AU - Marcus, Sue

PY - 2018/5/1

Y1 - 2018/5/1

N2 - Objective To test an obesity prevention strategy derived from behavioural economics (optimal defaults plus delay), focused on changing the college dining hall service method.Design After a uniform pre-load, participants attended an experimental lunch in groups randomized to one of three conditions: a nutrient-dense, lower-fat/energy lunch as an optimal default (OD); a less-nutrient-dense, higher-fat/energy lunch as a suboptimal default (SD); or a free array (FA) lunch. In the OD condition, students were presented a menu depicting healthier vegetarian and omnivore foods as default, with opt-out alternatives (SD menu) available on request with a 15 min wait. In the SD condition, the same menu format was used with the positioning of food items switched. In the FA condition, all choices were presented in uniform fonts and were available immediately.Setting Private rooms designed to provide a small version of a college dining hall, on two campuses of a Northeastern US university.Subjects First-year college students (n 129).Results There was a significant main effect for condition on percentage of optimal choices selected, with 94 % of food choices in the OD condition optimal, 47 % in the FA condition optimal and none in the SD condition optimal. Similarly, energy intake for those in the SD condition significantly exceeded that in the FA condition, which exceeded that in the OD condition.Conclusions Presenting menu items as optimal defaults with a delay had a significant impact on choice and consumption, suggesting that further research into its long-term applicability is warranted.

AB - Objective To test an obesity prevention strategy derived from behavioural economics (optimal defaults plus delay), focused on changing the college dining hall service method.Design After a uniform pre-load, participants attended an experimental lunch in groups randomized to one of three conditions: a nutrient-dense, lower-fat/energy lunch as an optimal default (OD); a less-nutrient-dense, higher-fat/energy lunch as a suboptimal default (SD); or a free array (FA) lunch. In the OD condition, students were presented a menu depicting healthier vegetarian and omnivore foods as default, with opt-out alternatives (SD menu) available on request with a 15 min wait. In the SD condition, the same menu format was used with the positioning of food items switched. In the FA condition, all choices were presented in uniform fonts and were available immediately.Setting Private rooms designed to provide a small version of a college dining hall, on two campuses of a Northeastern US university.Subjects First-year college students (n 129).Results There was a significant main effect for condition on percentage of optimal choices selected, with 94 % of food choices in the OD condition optimal, 47 % in the FA condition optimal and none in the SD condition optimal. Similarly, energy intake for those in the SD condition significantly exceeded that in the FA condition, which exceeded that in the OD condition.Conclusions Presenting menu items as optimal defaults with a delay had a significant impact on choice and consumption, suggesting that further research into its long-term applicability is warranted.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85045203254&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85045203254&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S1368980017004220

DO - 10.1017/S1368980017004220

M3 - Article

VL - 21

SP - 1359

EP - 1369

JO - Public Health Nutrition

JF - Public Health Nutrition

SN - 1368-9800

IS - 7

ER -