The European Commission funds a $12.3 million program to explain what our appetite drive and why humans select those foods. The project is led by the University of Edinburgh to examine how eating habits develop, and the influence of hunger, emotions, stress, and economic factors in food selection.
The study will use brain imagining and behavioral neuroscience techniques as well as collect information on families’ social and economic backgrounds that affect their eating habits.
High-calorie foods and lack of exercise leads to obesity and can increase an individual’s risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Stress has been known to alter an individual’s decision in food options. The project seeks to understand how stressful experiences in early life may affect eating habits in adulthood.
The five-year program – called Nudge-it – will be conducted at 16 institutions across six European countries, the United States, and New Zealand. Lead Institution University of Edinburgh will receive $3.3 million.
Professor Gareth Leng of the University of Edinburgh said, "Our goal is to understand the physical and psychological factors that control eating behavior, so that we can develop more effective strategies for encouraging healthier food choices."