Adding photos of veggies to lunch trays increases kids’ consumption

The Wall Street Journal “Health Blog” reports that according to a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, putting photographs of vegetables on cafeteria trays may have increased vegetable consumption in kindergarteners through fifth graders at a single school.

On a day when photographs were placed on trays, 14.8% of kids took green beans and 36.8% took carrots, compared to 6.3% taking green beans and 11.6% taking carrots on control days. The average amount of the vegetables eaten by the students did not increase. However, the net amount consumed by all the students increased, because more students were taking the vegetables.

According to the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog, “the study authors noted that adding photos to the trays required no special training and was fairly inexpensive – it cost about $3 and took 20 minutes per 100 trays. ‘The number of students taking vegetables and the amounts consumed, however,’ they wrote, ‘remained low and did not yet meet government recommendations.’ They added since the study only lasted two days in one school, more research is needed to see if the intervention works in other settings and if the effects last over time.”

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