Skip to main content

Do TV food shows influence children?

Food, food, and more food.  More and more television programs are devoted to food.  Some are pure entertainment, like Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey.  In reality, they are all entertainment, of course. 

These shows can be a bit like watching the weather forecast behaviours can view but not take in any of the recipes - a cold front here, a dash of this and that.  Yet others have a semblance of the educational about them.  But do they influence our eating habits?

Whatever their intention, they influence our approach to food.  But what about children? Can they make children hungry for fruit and veg?

Television programs featuring healthy foods can be a key ingredient in leading children to make healthier food choices now and into adulthood.

A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier, found kids who watched a child-oriented cooking show featuring healthy food were 2.7 times more likely to make a healthy food choice than those who viewed a different episode of the same show featuring unhealthy food.

Researchers asked 125 10- to 12-year-olds, with parental consent, at five schools in the Netherlands to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch public television cooking program designed for children, and then offered them a snack as a reward for participating. Children who watched the healthy program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options – an apple or a few pieces of cucumber – than one of the unhealthy options – a handful of chips or a handful of salted mini-pretzels.

“The findings from this study indicate cooking programs can be a promising tool for promoting positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviours,” said lead author Dr. Frans Folkvord, of Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands.

This study was conducted at the children’s schools, which could represent a promising alternative for children learning healthy eating behaviours. Prior research has found youth are more likely to eat nutrient-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, if they were involved in preparing the dish, but modern reliance on ready-prepared foods and a lack of modeling by parents in preparing fresh foods have led to a drop in cooking skills among kids.

“Providing nutritional education in school environments instead may have an important positive influence on the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors of children,” Dr. Folkvord said.

This study indicates the visual prominence of healthier options in both food choice and portion size on TV cooking programs leads young viewers to crave those healthier choices then act on those cravings.

Dr. For example, children who don’t like new foods are less likely to show a stronger desire for healthier choices after watching a TV program featuring healthier foods than a child who does enjoy trying new foods. As they grow older, though, they start to feel more responsible for their eating habits and can fall back on the information they learned as children. Researchers believe this may indicate watching programs with healthier options can still have a positive impact on children’s behaviour, even if it is delayed by age.

“Schools represent the most effective and efficient way to reach a large section of an important target population, which includes children as well as school staff and the wider community,” Dr. Folkvord commented. “Positive peer and teacher modeling can encourage students to try new foods for which they exhibited distaste previously.”

Poor dietary habits during childhood and adolescence have multiple adverse effects on several health and wellness indicators, including achievement and maintenance of healthy weights, growth and development patterns, and dental health.

“The likelihood of consuming fruits and vegetables among youth and adults is strongly related to knowing how to prepare most fruits and vegetables. Increased cooking skills among children can positively influence their consumption of fruit and vegetables in a manner that will persist into adulthood,” Dr. Folkvord added.


If you like the posts you've seen on The Thin End, why not subscribe - it's free. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

A weaver's tail - the harvest mouse

Living in the grass is a tiny mouse: the tiny harvest mouse, with a wonderful scientific name that sounds like the title of a Charles Dickens Novel,  Micromys minutus.   It is the only British mammal with a prehensile tail. It uses its tail to hold on to the slender grass stems, at the tops of which it builds a nest. Photo: Nick Fewing These tiny mammals (just around 5 cm long) build a spherical nest of tightly woven grass at the top of tall grasses, in which the female will give birth to about six young.  In the fields, we see cows and horses brushing away flies with their tails; often they will stand side-by-side and end-to-end, and help each other.  Two tails are better than one!  In nature, tails are put to good use.  Just as a tight-rope walker uses his pole for balance, so for some species, a tail provides balance. When running, a squirrel uses its tail as a counterbalance to help the squirrel steer and turn quickly, and the tail is used aerodynamically in flight.  But many anima