Should parents hide health benefits of veggies from children? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Should parents hide health benefits of veggies from children?

Cleveland Clinic dietician Jennifer Willoughby (Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation) Cleveland Clinic dietician Jennifer Willoughby (Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation)

A study shows that children are less likely to eat their fruits and vegetables if parents tell them about the health benefits.

A Cleveland Clinic dietician, who did not participate in the study, shared her thoughts on the findings.

"So, it's an interesting take for parents to try these days. So, the way they're looking at it is to offer some of these healthier-type foods, but don't advertise them as being healthy," says Jennifer Willoughby, a registered dietician at Cleveland Clinic.

A team of researchers made up of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, joined forces to study five groups of children ages 3-5.

The children were each given a picture book story about a girl who ate crackers and carrots.

Some of the stories explained the health benefits while the others omitted the information.

Results show the children typically ate more of their snack if the story they read did not explain the benefits of eating the crackers and carrots.

Researchers think a study like this could change the way fruits and vegetables are marketed to children.

Willoughby thinks parents may want to consider the results, too.

"Make it into a little game. The broccolis are little trees that the dinosaurs are coming to get. The asparagus is a sword that they need to eat up really quick. Make it fun for them. When they're younger, that just may work," says Willoughby.

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Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

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