Does placing unhealthy snacks further away reduce the likelihood of consumption?

There is a consistent “proximity effect” for food: people select and consume less food when it is placed further away from them. However, it is not known whether level of self-control impacts on how well the proximity effect works.

In two studies, we found that people are less likely to take chocolates when they are placed an extra 50cm away. This effect seemed to work similarly regardless of a person’s current level of self-control.

This shows that placing unhealthy food further away may be a simple but effective way to reduce the likelihood of consuming these snacks.

Effect of snack-food proximity on intake in general population samples with higher and lower cognitive resource. Hunter, Hollands, Couturier, Marteau, 2018.

Access full text