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Child-Centered Nutrition Phrases Plus Repeated Exposure Increase Preschoolers’ Consumption of Healthful Foods, but Not Liking or Willingness to Try

Lanigan, Jane, Bailey, Rachel, Jackson, Alexandra Malia Timpson, Shea, Valerie
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.5 pp. 519-527
education, experimental design, healthy diet, lentils, models, novel foods, parents, preschool children, sweet peppers, tomatoes
To determine whether the use of child-centered nutrition phrases (CCNP) with repeated exposure (RE) improved willingness to try, liking, and consumption of healthful foods compared with RE alone.The researchers used a 2 × 2 × 4 fractionated within-subjects experimental design in the study: phrase condition (RE vs CCNP + RE) by time of measurement (preintervention, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up), by type of food (tomatoes, bell peppers, lentils, and quinoa).Children were recruited from 2 early education centers; 89% participated.Children aged 3–6 years old (n = 87) who were predominantly white (67%) and from middle-income homes and had parents with some higher education.Adult delivery of CCNP + RE weekly for 6 weeks.Willingness to try, change in liking, and change in consumption.Two-level random-effects models were used to account for repeated measurements of willingness to try, liking, and consumption nested within participants.Children exhibited greater consumption of CCNP foods at follow-up assessment compared with RE foods (b = –16.28, SE = 5.41, t(528) = 3.01; P = .003).Use of CCNP combined with RE may encourage healthy eating, especially for novel foods that children may typically refuse.