In the fight against flab, good news is good news

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Maybe it’s the bad news that’s mak­ing us fat.

At least that’s what Out­liers is sur­mis­ing af­ter read­ing about a new study, which de­ter­mined that mes­sages of hard­ship and strug­gle trig­gered peo­ple to seek higher-calo­rie foods. The study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence, looked at how a harsh en­vi­ron­ment af­fects what peo­ple put on their plates.

“The find­ings of this study come at a time when our coun­try is slowly re­cov­er­ing from the on­slaught of neg­a­tive pres­i­den­tial cam­paign ads chalked with topics such as the weak econ­omy, gun vi­o­lence, war, deep po­lit­i­cal di­vides, just to name a few prob­lem ar­eas,” said Ju­liano Laran, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami School of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion, in a news re­lease. “Now that we know this sort of mes­sag­ing causes peo­ple to seek out more calo­ries out of a sur­vival in­stinct, it would be wise for those look­ing to kick off a health­ier new year to tune out news for a while.”

Sev­eral stud­ies were con­ducted. One in par­tic­u­lar fo­cused on a taste test for a new kind of M&M. Half the par­tic­i­pants got a bowl of candy and were told that the “se­cret in­gre­di­ent was a new, high-calo­rie choco­late.” The other par­tic­i­pants also re­ceived a bowl of M&M’s, but were told the new choco­late was low-calo­rie. But there was no dif­fer­ence be­tween the two bowls of M&M’s.

The re­searchers mea­sured how much the par­tic­i­pants ate af­ter they were ex­posed to posters con­tain­ing ei­ther neu­tral sen­tences or sen­tences re­lated to strug­gle and hard­ship. Those who were sub­con­sciously pre­pared to think about strug­gle and hard­ship ate closer to 70% more of the “higher-calo­rie” candy vs. the “lower-calo­rie” op­tion, while those primed with neu­tral words did not sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer in the amount of M&M’s con­sumed.

Sud­denly, Out­liers has a crav­ing for M&M’s. Chad Leathers and three of his friends. Leathers was driven to raise aware­ness of NF af­ter his younger brother Drew was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of the disease. Since its in­cep­tion, the undie run has raised more than $400,000 for the Chil­dren’s Tu­mor Foun­da­tion, which Leathers cred­its with help­ing his brother make a “re­mark­able” re­cov­ery.

“Be­cause of the ef­forts of the Chil­dren’s Tu­mor Foun­da­tion and the NF re­search com­mu­nity, he has been given a new lease on life,” Leathers says. “He went from liv­ing in a bed, to­tally par­a­lyzed from the neck down, to stand­ing on a stage as our NF am­bas­sador for the Chil­dren’s Tu­mor Foun­da­tion this past De­cem­ber.”

This year, the event is on pace for more than 8,000 run­ners and will have its first par­tic­i­pat­ing city out­side of the U.S. in Syd­ney.

To learn more about the run or to reg­is­ter, visit cu­pid­


Last year’s Cupid’s Undie Run in Seat­tle at­tracted a col­or­ful ar­ray of run­ners to help the cause.


Maybe it’s the bad news on TV that has you reach­ing for corn dogs and french fries.

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