Skip navigation

Kids Will Pass on 'Healthy' Foods

To improve their eating habits, don't dwell on the benefits of fruits, veggies, researchers say
(*this news item will not be available after 10/27/2014)

By Randy Dotinga
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
HealthDay news image

Related MedlinePlus Pages

TUESDAY, July 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Want young children to embrace a more healthful diet?

Don't tell them something that's healthy is good for them. Doing so will actually make them think it won't taste good, a new study suggests.

"Parents and caregivers who are struggling to get children to eat healthier may be better off simply serving the food without saying anything about it, or (if credible) emphasizing how yummy the food actually is," said study authors Michal Maimaran, of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, and Ayelet Fishbach, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The findings appear in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

The researchers launched their study to test their prediction that "when food is presented to children as making them strong or as a tool to achieve a goal such as learning how to read or count, they would conclude the food is not as tasty and therefore consume less of it," they said in a journal news release.

In five experiments, the researchers focused on children aged 3 to 5. In each one, the children looked at a picture book featuring a girl who ate crackers or carrots. When offered the same foods later, the kids in the study were less likely to eat one if the picture book had touted it as good for their health or helpful to the learning process.

The study authors suggest that marketers might better reach parents and children by putting less emphasis on the health value of food and focus more on the positive experience of eating the food.

SOURCE: University of Chicago Press Journals, news release, July 22, 2014

HealthDay
More Health News on:
Child Nutrition
Children's Health
Recent Health News
Page last updated on 30 July 2014