Personalized Nutrition Advice: Preferred Ways of Receiving Information Related to Psychological Characteristics

Garmt B. Dijksterhuis, Emily P. Bouwman, Danny Taufik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The primary goal of this study is to be able to discern specific types of consumers in terms of their psychosocial characteristics who may need different ways of receiving dietary advice. Knowing these types will enable a better fit of advice to consumers' psychosocial characteristics, hereby stimulating healthy eating as the probability of compliance to the advice can potentially increase. The study draws upon several psychological theories to distinguish unique underlying factors that can subsequently be used to personalize nutrition information for consumers. A number of general psychological scales (self-regulation, action and coping self-efficacy, social comparison, intrinsic motivation, health info processing, need for cognition and for affect, and regulatory focus) are filled out by 988 respondents, including their preferences for receiving personalized forms of nutrition advice. The set of joint items from various psychological constructs is analyzed using a Principal Component Analysis to find underlying psychological characteristics. The PCA produces four components (explaining 51% of variation), that could be interpreted as 'intrinsic interest and capabilities for healthy eating,' 'perceived difficulty to eat healthily,' 'self-worth insecurity,' and 'seeking positive challenges,' respectively. By means of a Logistic Regression these components are able to predict preferences for different forms of receiving nutrition advice. This first component shows that a mind set for maintaining a healthy diet goes together with an interest in receiving an advice on what do to and on how that will affect one's health. The second component predicts a preference for a fixed moment to receive information/advice. This may be a strategy of those that perceive difficulties to eat healthily, to help them control their healthy food intake. The insecurity that the third component models seems to lead to a wish for receiving specific advice about their health situation at fixed moments in time. The fourth component is a small component, therefore its prediction of a wish for an advice focussing on prevention of negative consequences is probably not a strong result. The study does point out that there appear different psychosocial types of consumers, that may benefit by being addressed according to their preference for receiving nutrition advice on specific moments, of a specific level of detail or pointing at the type of consequences the advice has. A better fit of the advice to the psychosocial characteristics of the recipient, captured in the identified components in the current study, may lead to an increase in compliance, although that will have to be further investigated in subsequent work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Health advice
  • Nutrition advice
  • Personalized nutrition and health advice
  • Psychological scales
  • Psychosocial characteristics


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