Agricultural Economics Department


First Advisor

Christopher R. Gustafson

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Agricultural Economics

Under the supervision of Professor Christopher R. Gustafson

Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2018


Copyright 2018, Nigina Rakhmatullaeva


The percentage of the U.S. population that is obese has increased markedly over the past fifty years. Obesity is driven in part by imbalances in energy consumption and expenditures. There are two main behavioral factors that influence that balance: food consumption and exercise. In this thesis, I report the results of two experiments that encompass both food choice and exercise.

The consumption of food prepared away from home is growing rapidly. Since individuals do not control the ingredients in foods prepared away from home, these foods are frequently less healthy than home-cooked foods. The role of calorie labeling for foods prepared away from home is therefore crucial in enabling individuals to know the nutritional value of their foods. The first experiment was a hypothetical sandwich choices experiment, where various calorie labeling formats have been tested to determine whether there is a more effective alternative. We discovered that calorie labeling formats that demonstrate how many calories can be saved from choosing a certain ingredient was the most effective. We also found that there is a negative correlation between calories ordered and subjects’ frequency of utilizing other food labels.

The second experiment was a food and exercise choice study where participants’ snack choice was recorded under two different conditions: before and after workout. We found that the timing of when the choice is made influences individuals’ food choice. People are more likely to choose a lower calorie snack before the workout, and more likely to pick a higher calorie snack after the workout, even though snacks were received after the workout in both cases. Age, gender and BMI were other variables that also influenced snack choices.

Advisor: Christopher Gustafson