A study from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center finds kids that watch other children eating nutritious foods on a TV screen are more likely to eat healthier themselves.
Pediatric obesity and health behavior researcher Amanda Staiano says when they offered pre-school aged children the same vegetables they saw on television, the kids ate more of the vegetable and had a preference to eating it again.
"I’m excited to see if this research could be used to put more health promoting messages on TV. If parents are going to use screens, let’s figure out a way to send healthy messages to children.”
Staiano says one-third of pre-school aged children aren’t eating vegetables. She says during the study the kids seemed to enjoy watching videos of other children their age eating bell peppers.
“Sometimes children take a few days to retain what they’ve seen and reproduce the action. So, in this case it took about a week before we saw changes in what the children were actually eating.”
Staiano says the effects of the study were seen only with the children that watched others on TV eating the vegetables, other kids who didn’t watch the videos were not interested in the vegetables. She says if your child doesn’t want to eat vegetables, try this method.
“If there is an opportunity to use screens in a healthy way to show that eating vegetables can be fun and can taste good, I think parents should give it a try.”