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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Feb;112(2):235-45.

Offering “dip” promotes intake of a moderately-liked raw vegetable among preschoolers with genetic sensitivity to bitterness.

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Department of Public Health, Temple University Center for Obesity Research and Education, 3323 N Broad St, Suite 175, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.



Evidence-based strategies for promoting vegetable consumption among children are limited.


To determine the effects of providing a palatable “dip” along with repeated exposure to a raw vegetable on preschoolers' liking and intake.


One hundred fifty-two predominately Hispanic preschool-aged children studied in Head Start classrooms in 2008.


A between-subjects, quasiexperimental design was used. A moderately-liked raw vegetable (broccoli) was offered twice weekly at afternoon snacks for 7 weeks. Classrooms were randomized to receive broccoli in one of four conditions differing in the provision of dip. Bitter taste sensitivity was assessed using 6-n-propylthiouracil.


Broccoli was provided in four conditions: with regular salad dressing as a dip, with a light (reduced energy/fat) version of the dressing as a dip, mixed with the regular dressing as a sauce, or plain (without dressing).


Mean broccoli intake during 7 weeks of exposure and broccoli liking following exposure.


Descriptive statistics were generated. Multilevel models for repeated measures tested effects of condition and bitter sensitivity on mean broccoli intake during exposure and on pre- and post-exposure liking while adjusting for classroom effects and potential covariates.


The majority of Hispanic preschoolers (70%) showed sensitivity to the bitter taste of 6-n-propylthiouracil. Children's broccoli liking increased following exposure but did not vary by dip condition or bitter sensitivity. Bitter-sensitive children, however, ate 80% more broccoli with dressing than when served plain (P<0.001); effects did vary based on whether regular or light dressing was provided as a dip or sauce. Dip did not promote broccoli intake among bitter-insensitive children.


Providing dip—regular, light, or as a sauce—increased raw broccoli intake among bitter-sensitive Hispanic preschoolers. Findings suggest that offering low-fat dips can promote vegetable intake among some children who are sensitive to bitter tastes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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