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Nudging Much?

Many of the leading causes of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease are linked to diet. Experts use several strategies to help individuals consume healthier diets, and one of these strategies is nudging. What exactly is nudging? When it comes to food choices, nudging is about creating cues in the food environment to support healthier behaviors without banning the other (less healthy) options or incentives. Nudging is different than educating people about their food choices. Because people often make their food choices without even thinking about it, nudging aims to work in a similar way – by inserting cues into the environment so that people select the healthier behaviors without having to think about it. Nudging certainly is not new. We are nudged almost every day by television shows, commercials and social media; so, why not use this technique for healthy food choices?  The Community Connections team has been doing just that.

The corner stores that are participating in the Hub City Fresh Healthy Corner Store Initiative in New Brunswick have been using the nudging strategies. They use tiered baskets of fresh produce strategically placed near the cash registers for increased visibility and colorful shelf signs that mark the healthier choices (in English and Spanish) among the variety of food options on the shelves. Then, there is the stack of free recipes that include many of the healthier food choices in these stores.

The Community Connections team members continue to support the Hub City Fresh stores in New Brunswick to nudge the customers towards healthier food and beverage options every day.

About the Grantee

Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

Through its Department of Nutritional Sciences and Cooperative Extension units, Rutgers provides nutrition education, conducts nutrition- and health-related research, builds partnerships, and implements evidence-based strategies to improve the nutrition status, health and well-being of people throughout New Jersey.