Agricultural Economics Department


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Gustafson, C.R.; Arslain, K.; Rose, D.J. High BMI Predicts Attention to Less Healthy Product Sets: Can a Prompt Lead to Consideration of Healthier Sets of Products? Nutrients 2021, 13, 2620.


Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)


While the food environment has been implicated in diet-related health disparities, individuals’ ability to shape the food environment by limiting attention to a subset of products has not been studied. We examine the relationship between BMI category and consideration set—the products the individual considers before making a final choice—in an online hypothetical shopping experiment. Specifically, we focus on the healthiness of the consideration set the individual selected. Secondly, we examined the interaction of a health prompt (versus a no-prompt control) with BMI category on the healthiness of the consideration set. We used linear probability models to document the relationship between weight status and consideration set, between prompt and consideration set, and the effect of the interaction between prompt and weight status on consideration set. We found that (1) obese individuals are 10% less likely to shop from a consideration set that includes the healthy options, (2) viewing the prompt increased the probability of choosing a healthy consideration set by 9%, and (3) exposure to the prompt affected individuals in different BMI categories equally. While obese individuals are more likely to ignore healthier product options, a health-focused prompt increases consideration of healthy options across all BMI categories.