Can “Stickers” Help Kids Eat More Fruit and Veggies?
Can “Stickers” really help kids eat more fruit and veggies? According to a Cornell study, placing a popular cartoon character on a fruit or veggie may make a healthy snack more appealing to kids.
Researchers, Brian Wansink, David R. Just, of Cornell University and Collin R. Payne of New Mexico State University conducted a study “Can Branding Improve School Lunches”?
They discovered that when students were offered apples and cookies with lunch. Children were more likely to choose an apple when it was branded with a cartoon sticker – such as one of the “Sesame Street” character Elmo.
208 kids ranging from 8-11 years old from urban and suburban elementary schools were offered apples and cookies every day at lunch for a week. The study was conducted during lunchtime in a span of five days at each school. After selecting their lunch, each kid was offered the opportunity to take either an apple and/or a cookie.
On the first day of the study, both the apple and the cookie were offered without a sticker. On the last day of the study both the apple and cookie were offered without a sticker, to help determine if the presence of stickers on the apple had any carry-over.
Some days, the snacks were offered without cartoon stickers. On other days, either the cookie or the apple was branded with a familiar cartoon character.
When the snacks weren’t specially marked, 91 percent of children took a cookie and just under 1/4 took an apple.
But when an Elmo sticker was placed on the apples, 37 percent of children took fruit, the researchers reported.
Most experts agree that the findings in this and numerous other similar studies are extremely encouraging given the issue of the childhood obesity epidemic globally.
More than a 1/3 of American kids are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These conditions can lead to major health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Numerous studies have shown that getting children to adopt healthy eating habits at an early age is one way for children to lower their risk for obesity as adults.
In recent years, kid-friendly characters weren’t used heavily for marketing fruit and veggies as much as they were used on process foods, foods that aren’t necessarily good for kids.
However, we’re seeing dramatic changes all across the Produce Industry which is helping to create positive associations between healthy eating and having fun. One great example is the PMA, (Produce Marketing Association) Partnership for a Healthier America and Sesame Workshop “eat brighter” campaign collaboration.
Also, “Let’s Move!“ the comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, Michelle Obama’s has encouraged many U.S. schools to adopt her healthy cafeteria guidelines. Offering comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.
So if you have a picky eater or your just struggling to get your child to eat healthy go out and get them some edible stickers it just might do the trick.
Please feel free to leave a comment or offer your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.