Fun and games help toddlers make healthy choices

Nov. 19, 2014, Science World Report

By Kathleen Lees

The last concern on children’s minds is eating healthy. Yet adding a little fun and games to the equation can make a dramatic difference when it comes to eating right.

Recent findings published in the journal Appetite found that some fun fruit and vegetable games were enough to encourage toddlers to try out some healthy choices. Continue reading

Color-coded labels, healthier food

Jan. 7, 2014, Harvard Gazette

Using color-coded labels to mark healthier foods and then displaying them more prominently appears to have prompted customers to make more healthful long-term dining choices in their large hospital cafeteria, according to a report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

In the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), the MGH research team noted that the previously reported changes have continued up to two years after the labeling intervention was introduced.

“Our current results show that the significant changes in the purchase patterns of both hospital employees and all customers resulting from the labels and the choice architecture program did not fade away as cafeteria patrons became used to them,” says Anne Thorndike of the MGH Division of General Medicine, who led the study. ”This is good evidence that these changes in healthy choices persist over time.” Continue reading

Study: Giving a boring food a cool name helps children make healthier meal choices

Sept. 14, 2013, Star Gazette

By Bob Jamieson

Cornell University experts have found ways to get America’s school kids to eat healthier school lunches.

They say their techniques are low cost, even no cost, and nudge students to more nutritious offerings by manipulating the lunchroom environment.

“A lot of our work is experimental. We will actually go out in the field and run experiments in schools to see what will happen,” said David Just, associate professor and co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. Continue reading