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Health halos: how health claims bias calorie estimations and lead to overeating (RV of 2005/59/MKT)

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Why is America a land of low-calorie food claims yet high-calorie food intake? We suggest an answer to this paradox by showing that health claims can actually increase overeating. In four studies, we find that consumers' calorie inferences are assimilated toward the health claims of the restaurant brand. We further find that these biased calorie estimations lead consumers to choose higher-calorie side orders, drinks, or desserts when the restaurant claims to be healthy (e.g., Subway) compared to when it does not (e.g., McDonald's). Importantly, the halo effect of health claims on calorie estimations and on overeating can be eliminated by asking consumers to consider whether opposite health claims may be true. The studies reported here suggest innovative strategies for consumers, marketers, and policy makers searching for ways to fight obesity.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2006/2006-42.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved