Meeting Abstract

Appealing to vanity: Does seeing the potential appearance-benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption motivate dietary change?



Whitehead RD, Perrett DI & Ozakinci G (2011) Appealing to vanity: Does seeing the potential appearance-benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption motivate dietary change?. 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioural Medicine, Seattle. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41 (Suppl 1), pp. S214-S214.

Inadequate fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is linked to myriad health conditions, such as cardiovascular disorder, diabetes and cancer. There is an urgent requirement for more effective interventions in this area. This study aims to develop and test a novel appearance-based dietary intervention targeting FV consumption. We attempt to motivate diet-change by appealing to people’s vanity, illustrating how their appearance (specifically, skin colour) may benefit from a diet that is rich in FV. Skin colour differences between high and low FV consumers were determined and this defined a ‘FV colour transform’. 62 University students were then allocated to 3 groups receiving: no intervention; NHS dietary advice; or NHS advice in addition to viewing their own faces manipulated with this colour transform via a computer programme and printed photographs. Diet, lifestyle and health information were collected at baseline and again after 3 and 6 weeks, and skin spectrophotometry (CIE L*a*b*) was conducted at each of these sessions. Controlling for ethnicity, makeup and fake-tanning products, FV consumption was associated with increased skin yellowness and redness. Individuals participating in the appearance-based intervention significantly increased the colour transform to optimize the appearance of health in their face. Controlling for baseline FV intake, a significant effect of group was seen, such that the group viewing their own face manipulated showed an improved diet relative to the other individuals. Increases in FV consumption over the course of the study significantly predicted increases in overall skin redness and yellowness. At wavelengths associated with carotenoid absorption, changes in facial skin reflectance are significantly correlated with changes in FV consumption. Increased FV consumption confers measurable effects on skin appearance within 6 weeks. Seeing the potential benefits of FV consumption on skin colour can motivate improvement in diet.

Annals of Behavioral Medicine: Volume 41, Issue Suppl 1

Publication date30/04/2011
Publication date online31/12/2011
Date accepted by journal01/11/2011
Conference2010 Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioural Medicine
Conference locationSeattle

People (1)


Professor Gozde Ozakinci

Professor Gozde Ozakinci

Professor and Deputy Dean of Faculty, Psychology