Taillieu, Deanne

Project title: Impact of University Cafeteria Nudge Strategies on Student Vegetable Purchasing

Department: Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Patti-Jean Naylor

"Sufficient vegetable consumption is imperative in achieving both mental and physical health as they provide essential nutrients that support cognitive abilities, strengthen immunity, and decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity. Establishing healthy dietary behaviours early in adulthood lays the foundation for achieving overall health and well-being both immediately and in the future. The transitional period from high school to University is often accompanied by dramatic weight gain, primarily an increase in fat mass, as well as a decline in vegetable consumption as students gain complete autonomy over their food choices. Choice architecture, or ‘nudging’, targets the environmental factors that may subtly guide one’s decision in one direction or another. Economic incentives, while not considered nudges, can also influence dietary behaviour. Both of these strategies have been used effectively with adults in community environments, but few intervention studies have focused on the University setting or the consumption of vegetables. This study aims to understand the impact of nudging compared to an economic incentive (cost reduction and marketing communications) on student dietary choices in a University cafeteria setting. Specifically, it will address student awareness of, and response to, the nudge or economic incentives; did they influence their purchasing behaviour."