Simple Way To Make Kids Eat Healthier - Add a Smiley Face

By Staff Reporter - 28 Apr '15 19:44PM

A new research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego, California, suggests that smiley faces help kids to eat more nutritious meals.

Researchers found that putting smiley faces on healthy foods and meals can oftentimes encourage children to eat something more nutritious even if it might not be their all-time favorite food.

The study found remarkable changes in the consumption and food choices of the students. First, purchases of plain milk increased from 7.4% to 48% of total milk sales. Second, the sales of chocolate milk decreased from 86.5% to 44.6% of total milk purchases.

Third, the fruit purchases increased by 20% from 1 to 1.2 items per student per day. Lastly, the vegetable purchases rose by 62% - from 0.74 to 1.2 items per student per day. Over the course of the study, the researchers encountered an overwhelming increase in Power Plate selection.

The study was conducted among sixth-grade pupils at a school in Cincinnati, the researchers placed green smiley emoticons in the school cafeteria - on nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, entrée containing whole grains, and plain white fat-free milk.

Nearly three months after this, the researchers came up with a "Power Plate" concept whereby kids who took a Power Plate with any of the four listed foods also got a sticker, mini beach ball, or temporary tattoo among other small prizes.

"It looks like we found a very promising, low-cost and effective way of improving the nutrition of elementary school children. This type of program may be a useful component in schools trying to improve the nutrition and health of their students," the study authors concluded.

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