Back at the end of August, I wrote a post about the benefits of “nudging” people towards heath, in particular, by resetting food defaults. I argued that we could combat obesity without unduly infringing on individual choice or autonomy by changing the food situation so that when a person ordered “a latte,” for example, she was given skim milk unless she specified that she wanted whole milk.
Thus, I was extremely excited to see Brian Wansink, David R. Just, and Joe McKendry’s great “Lunch Line Redesign” op-chart in the New York Times a few days ago. For decades, experts have been working hard to design supermarkets and fast food restaurants to maximize sales; it sure is nice to see scientists taking a similar approach to maximize nutrition. As they explain,
Experiments that we and other researchers have done in cafeterias at high schools, middle schools and summer camp programs, as well as in laboratories, have revealed many ways to use behavioral psychology to coax children to eat better. Here are a dozen such strategies that work without requiring drastic or expensive changes in school menus.
I highly encourage you to check out their interactive proposal here.
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To review a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Situationism’s Improving Situation,” “Dr. David Kessler Waxes Situationist,” “The Situation of Eating – Part II,” “The Situation of Eating,” “The Situation of the Dreaded ‘Freshman 15′,” “Our Situation Is What We Eat,” “Social Networks,” “The Situation of Fatness = Our ‘Obesogenic’ Society,” “Innovative Policy: Zoning for Health,” “McDonalds tastes better than McDonalds, if it’s packaged right,” and “The Situation of Repackaging.”
To access Adam Benforado’s article, entitled “Broken Scales: Obesity and Justice in America” (co-written with Situationist contributors Jon Hanson and David Yosifon), on the situationist causes of the American obesity epidemic, click here.