When preschoolers watch videos of other children eating vegetables, they’re more likely to eat vegetables themselves, according to research conducted by Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Peer modeling on a digital screen may be an effective tool to encourage vegetable consumption among preschool children, the research shows.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 were more likely to choose to eat that vegetable when presented with it one week later, after viewing a video of peers consuming a vegetable like bell peppers. Additionally, parents of the children who saw the video of peers eating vegetables were marginally more likely to make that vegetable available in the home soon thereafter, and those children were also more likely to report a higher preference for the vegetable.
“As we work to explore easy-to-use tools to help influence children’s attitudes toward healthy eating and to make it more fun and exciting, this study lays the foundation for interventions that we may be able to translate into home or school settings in the future,” said Amanda Staiano, PhD, lead author on the study and assistant professor of research in Pennington Biomedical’s Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory.
Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows one-third of preschoolers eat zero servings of fruit and vegetables a day. In contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-20 recommend preschool-aged children eat four to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day.