Can displaying healthy food in a visually appealing way encourage children to actually eat it? That appeared to be the case in a small recent study out of Cornell. As reported by The Salt blog today:
Researchers at Cornell's Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs went into three school cafeterias that had been keeping their fruit in stainless-steel bins behind sneeze guards in the lunch line where kids could barely see it. And they did some strategic rearranging. They moved the fruit into colorful bowls or attractive baskets, and placed them near the cash register.
The result? A 103 percent increase in the purchase of fruit. "We were shocked by the sheer size of the effect," David Just of Cornell tells The Salt. He'd anticipated no more than a 30 percent increase, but it seems that moving the fruit to the bottleneck are at the end of the line was a big hit. "Kids spend more time looking at it" while they're waiting to check out, Just says.
Just's goal is to come up with low-cost or no cost lunchroom changes can help kids to make healthier choices. And the redesign efforts so far are encouraging.
Previously: School nutrition standards come into the 21st century, Is pureeing the key to getting children to eat their veggies? and Can rebranding make kids choose veggies over junk food?
Photo by plumandjello