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Smileys Improve Food Choices, Promote Healthy Eating Habits Among Children

by Julia Samuel on April 28, 2015 at 1:05 PM
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Smileys Improve Food Choices, Promote Healthy Eating Habits Among Children

Smiley faces are a hit among kids and its use in food labels along with compliments for buying nutritious items can make kids purchase and eat more of healthy foods, suggests a new research.

"It looks like we found a very promising, low-cost and effective way of improving the nutrition of elementary school children. This type of programme may be a useful component in schools trying to improve the nutrition and health of their students," said study author Robert Siegel from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, Ohio, US.

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For the study, the researchers designed a two-phase intervention to improve healthful eating among kindergarten through sixth-grade students at an inner-city school in Cincinnati. The first phase consisted of placing green smiley face emotions by the most nutritious foods in the school cafeteria, including fruits, vegetables, plain white fat-free milk and an entree with whole grains.

Three months later, researchers introduced the concept of a 'Power Plate', which consisted of the four healthy foods. Children who selected a Power Plate could receive a small prize, such as a sticker, temporary tattoo or mini beach ball.
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Results showed plain milk purchases increased from 7.4% to 48% of total milk sales. Fruit selection increased by 20% from 1 to 1.2 items per student per day, and vegetable selection rose by 62% from 0.74 to 1.2 items per student per day. Meanwhile, chocolate milk selection decreased from 86.5% to 44.6% of total milk sales.



Source: Medindia
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