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Watching cooking shows might motivate kids to eat healthier

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior claimed that children that often watch cooking programs come across healthy foods more often. This meant that they were over twice as likely to choose healthy snack as children who watched a cooking show featuring unhealthy foods.

"If you promote healthy foods to children, it can be beneficial to improve their intake," said Dr Frans Folkvord, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the School of Humanities and Digital Science at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. "For parents, it's important that they promote healthy foods during day time by different methods, and one of the methods is these cooking programs.”

While conducting the study, researchers interviewed 125 children of 10 to 12 years old to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch TV show designed for children. Some watched a clip featuring healthy foods, while others watched a video featuring less healthy, energy-dense foods.

To avoid any confusion around the perception of healthy food these children answered on a 10-point scale how healthy they perceived the foods shown in the cooking program, ranging from zero (very unhealthy) to 10 (very healthy). The healthy foods clip featured tomatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts and other fruits and vegetables. The clip that centred on unhealthy foods showed hamburgers, French fries with mayonnaise and croissants.


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