Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Arturo Z. Vasquez

Second Advisor

Dr. Reto Felix

Third Advisor

Dr. Pramod Iyer


As one of the most widely used marketing techniques, the role and effects of food labels have received significant attention from researchers. Different labels have very different influences and implications. This dissertation focuses on a unique persuasive language label: fitness label. This dissertation starts with a discussion on self-regulation mechanisms and research on goals, and their implications on how choosing fitness labeled food affects subsequent intention to forgo exercise.

This dissertation finds that the existence of response conflict in food choice, as well as the magnitude of the response conflict affect consumer’s reaction mechanisms, which in turn affect consumer’s exercise intention. To be more specific, choosing fitness labeled food vs. choosing non-fitness labeled food does not affect consumer’s subsequent exercise decision when response conflict is absent in food choice. When there is a mild response conflict involved in food choice, choosing fitness labeled food vs. choosing non-fitness labeled food decreases normal-weight consumer’s intention to forgo subsequent exercise. However, when the severity of response conflict increases to a stronger level, consumers who chose fitness labeled food exhibit higher intention to forgo exercise, this effect is present among all consumers.

Moreover, this dissertation proposes that consumer’s self-control significantly and negatively affects intention to forgo exercise. The collective predicting power of self-control and choosing fitness labeled food increases as the severity of response conflict increases.

Furthermore, this dissertation finds that fitness label is able to produce a health halo that makes fitness labeled food seem healthier, yet the health halo is not sufficient to affect consumer’s intention to forgo exercise.

This dissertation has three major contributions. First, it introduces response conflict to address some inconsistent findings of previous research about persuasive language labels. It helps to understand consumer’s reaction mechanisms when different levels of response conflicts are involved. Second, this dissertation lays a solid theoretical foundation for future studies. It reviews and summarizes relevant theories that can be applied to the area of food label studies, and discusses the applicability of these theories. Finally, this dissertation responds to the ethical concerns about using fitness label as a marketing tool. It shows that the negative effect of fitness label can be very limited.


Copyright 2020 Mei Han. All Rights Reserved.

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