Consumer Research Frequently Cited
to a Reuters' release, the US House of Representatives began debate
in mid-March of a bill
that would block lawsuits against fast-food chains from those
who accuse the food industry of causing obesity. An estimated 129.6
million Americans, or 64 percent, are overweight or obese, placing
them at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some
forms of cancer. According to the Surgeon General's Office in the
Department of Health and Human Serices, the total direct and indirect
costs, including medical costs and lost productivity, were estimated
billion nationally for 2000.
Professor of Business Administration Brian Wansink is a leading
consumer researcher who investigates portion size, eating habits,
and the impact of food names on eating habits. He was the subject
of an extensive interview and cover story in this month in Nutrition
Action Healthletter from the Center
for Science in the Public Interest. (The cover story is only
available to subscribers.)
The article notes Wansink has "spent a career studying what
consumers don't notice." Said Wansink, "Many of us are
reasonably diligent about what we eat, but don't put that much thought
into how much we eat. People may decide to eat Chinese food instead
of pizza or fruit instead of potato chips because they are healthier.
But once they make that initial choise, they tend not to monitor
how much they eat. And a pound of grapes isn't calorie free."
Wansink's research has been the subject of numerous articles in
the past month, including:
Wansink is Julian Simon Memorial Faculty Fellow in Marketing
and a professor of Business Administration in the College of Business.
He also has appointments in nutritional science, advertising, and
agricultural and consumer economics.He is the founder and director
of the Food
& Brand Lab which focuses on research into "why consumers
buy what they buy and eat what they eat."