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Pictures of Veggies Spur Students to Ask for More
February 8, 2012

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In the wake of the U.S. Government's new focus on healthy foods comes a study finding that students who saw pictures of vegetables asked for more of them.

Several hundred students at an elementary school in Minnesota participated in a two-day study in 2011, in which on the second day, their school lunch trays had taped to them photographs of the carrots and green beans that were on the lunch plates. The study found that on that second day (the first day was business as usual), the students asked for more vegetables while going through the lunch line. Seeing the photos on their lunch trays encouraged them to ask for more vegetables.

Asking for more vegetables didn't necessarily translate into eating more vegetables, however. The study found that the amount of green beans eaten was no different on either day and the amount of carrots eaten was higher on the first day, when lunch trays contained no photographs of vegetables.

Still, the more students who ask for vegetables, the more students will eventually eat vegetables, especially if the students are encouraged by their parents and teachers and by political leaders. The new federal standards are part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! program, which began in earnest in 2011 with MyPlate, a revision of the traditional Food Pyramid.

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