What Influences the Credibility of Printed Nutrition Education Materials?

Cori Lorts, Marc Adams, Anthony J. Roberto, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: In this study, we aimed to determine the influence of aesthetics and color of printed nutrition education materials on perceived credibility of the material content. Methods: A randomized 2 x 2 (aesthetics and color) factorial experimental design was completed on a university campus. Undergraduate and graduate students (N=204) were randomly assigned one of 4 types of flyers (high aesthetic-color, high aesthetic-black-and-white, low aesthetic-color, and low aesthetic-black-andwhite). Perceptions on the flyer content (accurate, believable, biased, valuable, and trustworthy), perceptions of overall flyer quality (attractive, pleasant, confusing, and interesting), and knowledge of the content within the flyer were assessed via a survey after reading the flyer. Results: A statistically significant main effect of aesthetics was observed for perceived "trustworthiness" of the flyer information (p = .048). Flyers with high aesthetics, regardless of print color, had a higher mean score of "trustworthiness" (M = 6.01) than flyers with low aesthetics (M = 5.71). An interaction effect was seen for perception of the flyer being "confusing" (p = .02). The high aesthetic-black-and-white flyer had the highest mean score for "confusing" (M = 1.66) with the low aesthetic flyer printed in color having the second highest mean score for "confusing" (M = 1.56). Conclusions: The aesthetics of nutrition education materials appear to influence perceived trustworthiness of those materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • audience perceptions
  • college health
  • health education
  • nutrition education
  • nutrition education materials
  • print media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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