Watching cooking show on healthy food can influence kids to eat healthier
While exposure to television advertisements about fast foods is linked to unhealthy eating habits among children, a new research has shown that TV programmes featuring healthy foods may affect kids to make healthy food choices today and in adulthood.
‘The findings from this study indicate programmes behaviours, and can be a promising instrument for encouraging positive changes in children preferences, attitudes,’ said lead author Frans Folkvord of Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
At five schools in the Netherlands, the researchers requested 125 kids between 10 to 12 years of age for the study to watch 10 minutes of a public television cooking programme designed for kids, and then offered them a snack as a reward for participating.
Children who watched the healthy programme were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options — an apple or a couple of pieces of cucumber — than one of the unhealthy options — a handful of chips or a couple of.
This study was conducted in the children’s schools, which could represent a promising option for kids learning healthy eating behaviours.
Prior research has found youth are more likely to eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables if they had been involved in preparing the dish, but modern reliance on ready-prepared foods and a lack of modelling by parents in preparing new foods have led to a drop in cooking abilities among kids.
‘Providing nutritional education in school surroundings might have an important positive impact on attitudes the knowledge, skills, and behaviors of children,’ Folkvord said.
This study suggests the visual prominence of healthier options in portion size and food selection on TV cooking programmes leads young viewers to crave those choices then act on these cravings.
But the impact that exposure to options has on kids is strongly influenced by personality traits.
By way of instance, children who don’t like new foods are not as likely to demonstrate a stronger desire for healthy choices after viewing a TV programme featuring foods that are healthier compared to a child who does enjoy trying new foods.
As they grow older, however, they can fall back on information and begin to feel more accountable they heard as kids.
Researchers believe this may suggest seeing programmes with healthier options can still have a positive impact on children’s behaviour, even if it is delayed by age.