This study sought to determine how eight days of home exposure to information about healthful foods and eating behaviors in the form of children's books and a variety of fruit and vegetables interacted to affect 4- to 8-year-old children's (N = 59) consumption of fruit and vegetables. Before and after the home exposure, children participated in a task in which their consumption of a variety of fruit and vegetables that ranged in familiarity was measured. Results indicated that exposure to food and books were both effective at increasing consumption of fruit, but not vegetables. Additionally, children who were exposed to books consumed more of an infrequently consumed fruit presented during the post-test, but only if they had not been exposed to food during the home exposure. Overall, children's fruit consumption increased more if their mothers did not pressure them to eat, and those who were less neophobic were more likely to try a novel fruit or vegetable during the post-test. These findings suggest that information and food variety both can be effective for increasing acceptance of fruit, and highlight the need for more research that investigates the efficacy of intervention strategies that promote vegetable consumption in young children.
Physiology & Behavior
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Osborne, Chelsea and Forestell, Catherine A., Increasing children's consumption of fruit and vegetables: Does the type of exposure matter? (2012). Physiology & Behavior, 106(3), 362-368.