Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting kids to eat their veggies: A new approach to an age-old problem

Date:
July 1, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Every parent has a different strategy for trying to get his or her kid to eat more vegetables, from growing vegetables together as a family to banning treats until the dinner plate is clean. New research suggests that teaching young children an overarching, conceptual framework for nutrition may do the trick.

Every parent has a different strategy for trying to get his or her kid to eat more vegetables, from growing vegetables together as a family to banning treats until the dinner plate is clean. New research suggests that teaching young children an overarching, conceptual framework for nutrition may do the trick.
Credit: Monkey Business / Fotolia

Every parent has a different strategy for trying to get his or her kid to eat more vegetables, from growing vegetables together as a family to banning treats until the dinner plate is clean. New research suggests that teaching young children an overarching, conceptual framework for nutrition may do the trick.

The new findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that a conceptual framework encourages children to understand why eating a variety of foods is ideal and also causes them to eat more vegetables by choice.

Psychological scientists Sarah Gripshover and Ellen Markman of Stanford University hypothesized that preschoolers would be capable of understanding a more conceptual approach to nutrition, despite their young age.

"Children have natural curiosity -- they want to understand why and how things work," the researchers explain. "Of course we need to simplify materials for young children, but oversimplification robs children of the opportunity to learn and advance their thinking."

Gripshover and Markman developed five storybooks aimed at revising and elaborating on what children already know about different nutrition-related themes, including dietary variety, digestion, food categories, microscopic nutrients, and nutrients as fuel for biological functions.

The researchers assigned some preschool classrooms to read nutrition books during snack time for about 3 months, while other classrooms were assigned to conduct snack time as usual. Later, the preschoolers were asked questions about nutrition.

The children who had been read the nutrition books were more likely to understand that food had nutrients, and that different kinds of nutrients were important for various bodily functions (even functions that weren't mentioned in the books). They were also more knowledgeable about digestive processes, understanding, for example, that the stomach breaks down food and blood carries nutrients.

These children also more than doubled their voluntary intake of vegetables during snack time after the three-month intervention, whereas the amount that the control group ate stayed about the same.

When the conceptual program was pitted against a more conventional teaching strategy focused on the enjoyment of healthy eating and trying new foods, the results showed that both interventions led to increased vegetable consumption. Yet, the children in the conceptual program showed more knowledge about nutrition and a greater overall increase in vegetable consumption.

Further research is needed to determine whether the conceptual intervention encourages healthy eating habits outside of snack time and whether it's effective over the long-term, but Gripshover and Markman believe that the intervention shows promise.

"In the future, our conceptually-based educational materials could be combined with behaviorally-focused nutrition interventions with the hope of boosting healthy eating more than either technique alone," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. J. Gripshover, E. M. Markman. Teaching Young Children a Theory of Nutrition: Conceptual Change and the Potential for Increased Vegetable Consumption. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612474827

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Getting kids to eat their veggies: A new approach to an age-old problem." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701135600.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, July 1). Getting kids to eat their veggies: A new approach to an age-old problem. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701135600.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Getting kids to eat their veggies: A new approach to an age-old problem." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701135600.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins