Should we use popular brands to promote healthy eating among children?
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CitationPublic Health Nutr. 2010, 13(12):2064-7
AbstractOBJECTIVE: Studies indicate that food and beverages typically marketed to children are products high in fat, sugar and salt. LazyTown is an entertainment brand with a focus on healthy lifestyle, aimed at making health education entertaining. The aim of the present study was to assess whether children perceive food to taste better with a LazyTown label on the wrapping compared with the original packaging. DESIGN: Five pairs of identical food and beverage samples were introduced. We aimed to select healthy food and beverages from various food groups. Preference for the LazyTown food was coded as +1, no preference 0 and preference for the original food as -1. An average 'preference score' was calculated for each subject by adding up the answers. SETTING: Three pre-schools in the Greater Reykjavik area, Iceland. SUBJECTS: Subjects were pre-school children aged 3·5 to 6 years (n 66). RESULTS: Most children answered correctly that there was no difference in the taste between the two identical food samples. However, between 27 and 42 % (depending on the product) of children preferred the taste of LazyTown food and beverages despite the fact that the test food was identical. The mean preference score was 0·29 (sd 0·32, median 0·20, 95 % CI 0·21, 0·38). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings add to past research by demonstrating children's preferences for child-oriented wrappings rather than regular wrapping. It might be suggested that popular brands could be useful to promote healthy eating among young children along with other actions.
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