Calorie counting and weight-stigma prevent teens from eating healthy food, revealed a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers analyzed whether or not photographs of vegetables on a school lunch tray had an impact on the amount of vegetables eaten by the children. They found that placing photos of carrots and green beans did increase the amounts of vegetable consumption during lunch, but it still was not at levels consistent with government-recommended dietary guidelines.
It was seen that teens do care about the deceptive food marketing practices used to get them to eat junk food, including dishonest labeling. However, something that does not quite work to inspire healthy eating is counting calories and the negative way in which overweight and obese individuals are portrayed in the media. These strategies backfire, actually encouraging unhealthy food choices and weight gain.
Researchers will now be studying other simple methods that schools could utilize to encourage eating vegetables during lunch.