Unhealthy food choices and eating too much are important risk factors for diet-related illnesses (such as diabetes, cancer), and for early deaths as a result of these illnesses. Consequently, the challenges of overweight are very high on the agenda of the European Commission. It is increasingly recognised that the (obesogenic) environment is a key factor in over-consumption. Subtle factors in the food environment stimulate consumers to consume more than is good for them, often without consumers recognising it. An important policy challenge is to stimulate environments that help consumers to better self-regulate their behaviour, for which we need to understand the environmental cues that cause consumers to unknowingly overeat. The proposed research will focus on environmental cues that affect food intake. The present research aims to: (1) understand how and when the food environment impacts food intake, (2) critically assess novel intervention strategies that support consumers’ self-regulatory ability to overcome over-consumption, (3) develop key policy recommendations on real-life interventions that could facilitate consumers’ self-control. Methodologically, the project combines laboratory experimental studies on food intake in the outgoing phase at Cornell University in the US with intervention testing studies in the return phase (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), thereby taking best advantage of the unique combination of research infrastructures of the outgoing host (Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab) and return host (Wageningen’s Restaurant of the Future). For me personally, this project would enable me to be trained and acquire new knowledge in the leading edge research setting at Cornell University and in this way support my ambition to be a leading scientist in this field in Europe. Building a global professional network in this important research area would strengthen the European research base and contribute to the well-being of European citizens.
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