Dec 19, 2011

Teach children to enjoy eating vegetables and fruit with positive persistence

Few children are born with a liking for every vegetable, but researchers in France and Switzerland wanted to know if infants could learn to enjoy a specific vegetable, and how many tastes it would take. They published their results in the Journal of Food Quality and Preference in April 2007.


The researchers found 49 mothers who had stopped offering a vegetable because their child refused it. The mothers were asked to give the disliked vegetable and a well-liked one (ex. carrot puree) on alternate days, so that the infant would eat the disliked vegetable only once every two days.
Initially, the infants only ate 39 grams of the disliked vegetable compared to 164 grams of the liked food, but this changed very quickly. By the eighth exposure, infants were eating 174 grams of the initially disliked vegetable! The effects were long-lasting, with two out of three infants still eating the initially disliked vegetable nine months later.

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