Fancy some X-Ray Vision carrots How catchy names could encourage children to eat their vegetables
Children ate 66% of their veg when labelled 'X-ray vision carrots' compared to 32% just labelled 'Food of the Day'Researchers say re-labeling food could provide low-cost solution to boosting veg intake
16:09 GMT, 18 September 2012
Parents often struggled to persuade their children to eat healthy vegetables, but now scientists have found a simple solution – give them superhero names.
A study revealed that giving greens catchy labels such as 'X-Ray Vision Carrots' led primary school children eat twice as much of the vegetable.
Carrots: May not give you X-ray vision but are an excellent source of carotene, which we turn into Vitamin A
Researchers from Cornell University in the US asked 147 students ranged from eight to 11-years-old to taste a new lunch menu over three days, which included carrots.
They found the different names did not change the amount of carrots the students put on their plates.
However, children ate 66 per cent of the orange veg when they were named 'X-ray vision
carrots,' while 32
per cent consumed when labeled 'Food of the Day' and 35 per cent when
they weren't named.
In another part of the study, the researchers renamed broccoli as 'Power Punch Broccoli' and beans as “Silly Dilly Green Beans” in one
school's lunchroom. A neighboring school acted as a control with the
names of these foods left unchanged.
The researchers found that, compared to the control school, sales of
these vegetables were up by 99 per cent while buying in the control
school declined by 16 per cent.
Study lead author, Professor Brian Wansink, said: 'This research suggests that schools have a low-cost or even no-cost solution
to induce children to consume more nutritious foods.
'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.
'This research also confirms that using attractive names to make
foods sound more appealing works on individuals across all age levels.'
The research team had previously found that associating healthy foods with superheroes like Batman would encourage more children to eat these foods.
The latest study will be published in the journal of Preventive Medicine.