• Trine Riebeling Nørnberg
  • Louise Houlby
The average European consumption of vegetables is known to be generally inadequate compared to official dietary guidelines, and especially children and adolescents do far from meet the recommendations. As the dietary habits implemented early in life tend to persist into adulthood, adolescent are an especially vulnerable group.
The use of choice architectural nudge interventions as a mean to promote healthy eating, such as increasing vegetable intake, has increasingly gained focus. Nudging as a public policy tool is highly debated at a political, academic and public level. Some argue that the tool is coercive, infantilising and containing the possibility of manipulation, since it applies knowledge of cognitive biases and works on a subconscious level targeting automatic processes. However, the evidence base is still very limited and no studies have investigated the attitude towards the use of these interventions among the population.
The present thesis investigated which factors are influencing the attitudes towards choice architectural nudge interventions aiming to increase vegetable intake among Danish teenagers in a school context. Though developing, validating and distributing a questionnaire, factors associated with attitudes were assessed through factor analysis and structural equation modeling. The theories applied in the development of the questionnaire were the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Dual Process Theory.
The factors ‘buffet habits’, ‘perceived intake’, ‘social norms’ and ‘responsibility’ were found to have a significant association with the attitude towards choice architectural nudge interventions. However, ‘self-efficacy’ and ‘perceived health’ only had weak associations.
The respondents were found to be generally positive towards less intrusive nudges and displayed a more negative attitude towards nudges targeting their self-image. Further, the respondents considered it to be acceptable for the school to attempt to intervene with their health-related behaviour, but essentially they saw it as neither the school’s obligation nor responsibility.
It is not possible to say whether attitude will lead to behaviour, but this would be interesting to investigate in a future study. Here, combining the questionnaire with actual exposure to nudges could be relevant in order to see if the results from the two methods would be associated with each other.
Publication date2014
Number of pages152
ID: 198541066