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Factors influencing the reinforcing value of fruit and unhealthy snacks : original contribution Eur J Nutr (2017) 56:2589–2598
Factors influencing the reinforcing value of fruit and unhealthy snacks : original contribution Eur J Nutr (2017) 56:2589–2598
L. Vervoort, A. Clauwaert, L. Vandeweghe
Books, Manuscripts
Objective The present study investigated the reinforcing value of healthy and unhealthy snack food in adolescents (n = 108, aged 14–16 years). Moderation by access to different foods, sex and the personality trait reward sensitivity is tested. Methods In a computerized Food Reinforcement Task, adolescents could earn portions of a healthy and an unhealthy snack following an identical progressive reinforcement schedule for both food types. Reinforcing value of food was indexed by the number of button presses for each food type. Participants were allocated randomly to two-order condition: fruit–snack versus snack–fruit. Reward sensitivity was assessed with the Dutch age-downward version of Carver and White’s BIS/BAS scale. Results Results showed that the reinforcing value of anunhealthy snack is higher than that of fruit, with participantsmaking more button presses for unhealthysnacks, M = 1280.40, SD = 1203.53, than for fruit,M = 488.04, SD = 401.45, F(1,48) = 25.37, p < 0.001.This effect is stronger in boys (β = −1367.67) than in girls(β = −548.61). The effect is only present in the snack–fruitcondition, not in the fruit–snack condition, indicating thataccess to food moderates the effect of food type. There isno evidence for moderation by reward sensitivity.Conclusions Results point to the importance of simultaneouslyincreasing barriers to obtain unhealthy food and promotingaccess to healthy food in order to facilitate healthyfood choices.
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