Hi all,

In the United States, the importance of a balanced diet for children is at the heart of the concerns of health professionals as obesity continue to increase. Being able to motivate students in elementary schools requires to adopt good nutrition reflexes. Some US researchers conducted a study on the subject during five months.

Two-phase of nutritional program

In Cincinnati, a US city located south of the State of Ohio, researchers trialed a two-phase intervention among kindergarten through sixth-grade students at an inner-city school.

In the first phase, smiley faces were used to label healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fat-free milk and whole grains.

In the second phase (3 months later), researchers introduced a “Power Plate” of four healthy foods that came with a small prize – such as a sticker, mini beach ball or temporary tattoo.

By the end of the study, the “Power Plate” lunches increased over 300% (from 7.4% of purchases to 48%).

An effective and economical technique

Results shows that smiley faces help kids to eat more nutritious meals :
– Purchases of plain milk increased from 7.4% to 48% of total milk sales, an increase of 549%
– Fruit purchases increased by 20% – from 1 to 1.2 items per student per day
– Vegetable purchases raised by 62% – from 0.74 to 1.2 items per student per day
– Chocolate milk sales decreased from 86.5% to 44.6% of total milk purchases

Dr. Robert Siegel, author of this study and Director of the Center for Better Health and Nutrition of the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, says : “It looks like we found a very promising, low-cost and effective way of improving the nutrition of elementary school children. This type of program may be a useful component in schools trying to improve the nutrition and health of their students.”

To read more about this study :

References : A two-tiered cafeteria intervention of emoticons and small prizes increases plain milk purchase by over 500%, Robert Siegel, et al., presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego, 26 April 2015, abstract.

Slow Control’s team wish you a very good day !

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