It’s an easy, low cost way to get kids to eat healthier, according to a new study by Cornell University researchers. They simply took some vegetables (carrots, broccoli and beans) included in the schools’ lunch menu, and gave them cool names such as ‘X-ray Vision Carrots’, ‘Power Punch Broccoli’ or ‘Silly Dilly Green Beans’. The results, as described in the Journal Preventive Magazine, were outstanding.
The paper consists of two studies: For the first one, the researchers renamed the carrots for 147 students ranging 8-11 years old. They saw that, when labeled as ‘X-ray Vision Carrots’, the students almost doubled the consumption of this vegetable, from 35% to 66%.
For the second study, the researchers chose two neighboring NYC schools with a total of 1,552 students, and conducted a two-month experiment. The first month, the schools offered the vegetables with their usual name, while the second month only one of the schools labeled them with more attractive names; in this school the vegetable consumption went up by 99%, while in the other one it went down by 16%.
‘These results demonstrate that using attractive names for healthy foods increases kid’s selection and consumption of these foods and that an attractive name intervention is robust, effective and scalable at little or no cost,’ said co-author Brian Wansink of Cornell University.
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Brian Wansink, David R. Just, Collin R. Payne, & Matthew Z. Klinger (2012). Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools Preventive Medicine DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.07.012