Negative messages won’t make patients eat healthily, researchers say
Patients will eat more healthily if they are told what to eat without negative ‘Don’t’ messages, research suggests
Patients will eat more healthily if they are told what to eat without negative ‘Don’t’ messages, research suggests.
Using positive “Do” language is psychologically more effective at helping patients eat healthily than telling patients “Don’t eat this”, Cornell Food and Brand Lab has found.
The researchers analysed 43 published international studies that involved either negative or positive nutrition messages.
They found that while negative messages are effective for experts who were highly knowledgeable in the area (like dieticians and physicians), most people respond better to being told what they should eat and why it is good for them.
The researchers recommend that effective public health messages, aimed at the non-expert public, should focus on positive consequences of the desired healthy behaviours rather than negative consequences.
The research led by Brian Wansink will be presented at the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2015 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, USA on 27 July, for more information click here.