Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

If they know it's good for them, will they eat it?

Date:
May 8, 2014
Source:
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Summary:
One of the problems with getting kids to eat more healthful foods has been pinpointed by research: Children reject nourishing fare simply because they know it is good for them, and once they know that, they assume the food won't taste good. "Our study focused on very young children, and we should keep in mind that older children might rely less on taste when making food decisions due to higher self-control," said one author. "On the other hand, we all know teenagers who only eat six foods, so it could turn out that their thinking is similar to their younger counterparts."

When it comes to urging young children to eat healthy foods, most parents know the drill: We pretend to be airplanes, we sing songs with words rhyming with "broccoli," and we sometimes resort to extolling the virtues of Popeye and his spinach dependency -- all in an effort to get kids to eat their veggies.

Related Articles


But new research by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Ayelet Fishbach pinpoints one of the problems: Children reject nourishing fare simply because they know it is good for them, and once they know that, they assume the food won't taste good.

In "If it's Useful and You Know it, Do You Eat? Preschoolers Refrain from Instrumental Food," to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, Fishbach and Michal Maimaran of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University demonstrate that telling children that food will help them achieve a goal, such as growing strong or learning to read, decreases preschooler's interest in eating the food.

"The preschoolers seem to think that food can't serve two purposes, that it can't be something that makes them healthier and something that is delicious to eat at the same time," Fishbach notes. "So telling them that the carrots will make them grow tall (or make them smarter) actually makes them not want to eat the carrots. If you want them to eat the carrots, you should just give the kids the carrots and either mention that they are tasty or just say nothing."

The researchers completed five experiments with 270 preschoolers in which an experimenter read picture stories about a girl who had some food for a snack. In some stories, she was interested in the food because it was good for her, in others she was interested because the food was tasty and in some stories, there was no reason mentioned in the story for why she was interested in the food. In each case, children ate more of a food when no reason for eating it was mentioned or when it was presented yummy, than they did when they thought the food were good for them.

"Our study focused on very young children, and we should keep in mind that older children might rely less on taste when making food decisions due to higher self-control," Fishbach adds. "On the other hand, we all know teenagers who only eat six foods, so it could turn out that their thinking is similar to their younger counterparts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ayelet Fishbach and Michal Maimaran. If it's Useful and You Know it, Do You Eat? Preschoolers Refrain from Instrumental Food. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "If they know it's good for them, will they eat it?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508110841.htm>.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. (2014, May 8). If they know it's good for them, will they eat it?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508110841.htm
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "If they know it's good for them, will they eat it?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508110841.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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