Children are more likely to consume junk
Kids who watched a cooking show featuring healthy food were nearly three times more likely to generate a healthful food choice than those who watched a different episode showing unhealthy dishes, a study says.
Researchers, including those from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, asked 125 kids between the ages of 10 and 12 to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch public television cooking program designed for children.
As a reward for participating, the children were offered a snack, they could pick from a set of choices — some which were healthier than the others.
The findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, revealed that Children who watched the wholesome program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack choices — an apple, or a couple of pieces of cucumber — than among the unhealthy choices — a couple of chips, or a handful of salted mini-pretzels.
Earlier research had found that children were more likely to consume nutrient-rich foods if they were involved in preparing the dish, however, the availability of ready-prepared foods, and too little training to prepare fresh foods resulted in a drop in cooking abilities among children, the researchers said.
“Providing nutritional education in school surroundings instead might have an important positive influence on the understanding, attitudes, skills, and behaviors of children,” Folkvord added.
According to the researchers, the visual prominence of healthy options in the food selection and portion size on TV cooking programs may lead young viewers to crave healthy choices then act on those cravings.
“Schools represent the most effective and efficient means to reach a large section of a significant target population, which includes children in addition to school staff and the wider community. Positive peer and teacher modeling can encourage students to try new foods for which they exhibited distaste previously,” Folkvord said.