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Appetite. 2003 Apr;40(2):155-62.

Increasing children's acceptance of vegetables; a randomized trial of parent-led exposure.

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  • 1Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. j.wardle@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Despite considerable epidemiological evidence of the health benefits of a diet high in fruit and vegetables, consumption in pre-school children remains well below recommended levels. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an exposure-based intervention, carried out by parents in the home, in increasing children's liking for a previously disliked vegetable. 156 parents of 2-6 year old children were randomly assigned to Exposure, Information or Control groups after a pre-intervention taste test at which a 'target' vegetable was selected. Parents in the Exposure group gave their child a taste of this vegetable daily for 14 days, parents in the Information group were given nutritional advice and a leaflet, and parents in the Control group received no further intervention. All participants took part in a post-intervention taste test. Greater increases in liking, ranking and consumption of the 'target' vegetable from pre- to post-intervention occurred in the Exposure group than in either of the other two groups. Only the Exposure group showed significant increases across all three outcomes. It can be concluded that a parent-led, exposure-based intervention involving daily tasting of a vegetable holds promise for improving children's acceptance of vegetables. These findings suggest a parental advice strategy which could be disseminated directly to parents or by health professionals.

PMID:
12781165
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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