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Making Super-Nutrition Irresistible

Making Super-Nutrition Irresistible

What do you call consumers who want to buy everything they see advertised and don't care what it costs? Children. That’s why advertising to kids is so powerful—and dangerous.

According to the American Psychological Association the average child in the U.S. sees more than 40,000 ads annually—many designed to make snacks, sweets and zero-nutrition foods irresistible. And while study after study clearly shows ads for non-nutritious foods are tied to increasing rates of childhood obesity, they create demand! Kids pressure their folks for products they see advertised and that influences parents’ buying habits. Even nutrition-aware parents have a hard time combating super-marketing of junk food. But now there’s help.

A new study in Pediatrics reveals you can market good choices just as effectively as bad ones! Researchers introduced Super Sprowtz, a pack of fun-loving veggie characters with super powers, into 10 elementary school cafeterias. Schools that had characters displayed around the salad bar and in classroom videos saw 35 percent of the kids opt for veggies, as opposed to 10 percent before the campaign!

At home, you can use this to your advantage too. Give veggies Super-Nicknames (Cool Carol Cauliflower, Sam Super-Spinach!). Have young kids draw pictures of cape-clad squash and flying broccoli. (Google “super veggie” and click images for ideas.) Watch Netflix’ original Veggie Tales together. And, suggest the researchers, let your kids pick the veggies they want to eat, don’t just put them on their plate. Seems when kids get to choose, they’re more inclined to gobble them up

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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