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Influence of “health” versus “commercial” physical activity message on snacking behavior

Abstract : Purpose-This study aims to investigate whether the effect of exposure to video communication displaying physical activity (PA) would affect viewers' snacking behavior depending on the type of message. Specifically, it is expected that food intake would be significantly higher when the message is labeled as a "commercial message" rather than a "health message". Design/methodology/approach-Two experimental studies are conducted that manipulate the type of message (commercial message vs health message). In Study 1, the participants' level of involvement (low vs high) is also manipulated. In Study 2, the intensity of the PA displayed in the videos (low vs high) is manipulated, and a control group is included. The main dependent variable is the number of sweets eaten while watching the ad. Findings-Results from both studies show that the influence of a PA exposure on food intake is influenced by the nature of the communication. Participants exposed to the commercial message eat more sweets than those exposed to the health message (h p 2 = 0.06). Being exposed to a health message elicits self-regulated eating behaviors with no more sweets eaten than in the control group. In addition, the effect of the type of message is moderated by the intensity of the PA displayed. The difference of sweets consumed depending on the type of message is significant only when the physical intensity displayed is low. Research limitations/implications-The present research emphasizes the moderating role of the type of communication on food intake when recipients are exposed to a PA message. Further research must be conducted to enlarge the understanding of the phenomenon considering other critical variables such as inter-individual differences (e.g. body mass index and self-regulation skills), types of food (e.g. healthy vs unhealthy) and other contexts (e.g. watching sports events on television). Practical implications-The present findings have implications for marketers, health practitioners, policymakers and consumers. They stress the significance of how the implicit goals of the messages are taken into account within consumers' information processing and how this can affect subsequent consumption behaviors. PA displayed through a commercial message has the most negative impact on food intake, especially when the intensity of PA is low. PA displayed through a health message shows no impact on food intake, whatever the intensity of the PA. It emphasizes the importance of combining exposure to PA through advertising or sporting events to a message promoting healthy and balanced eating behaviors. Originality/value-The value of the present research lies in an additional understanding of the complex effect of passive exposure to a PA message on subsequent food consumption. Furthermore, the present study expands research on persuasive communication and has critical implications for public health issues.
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Marine Kergoat, Thierry Meyer, Jean-Baptiste Legal. Influence of “health” versus “commercial” physical activity message on snacking behavior. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Emerald, 2019, 37 (2), pp.170-179. ⟨10.1108/JCM-07-2018-2765⟩. ⟨hal-03122498⟩

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