Perceived eating norms and vegetable consumption in children

Background:
Beliefs about the eating behaviour of others (perceived eating norms) have been shown to influence eating behaviour in adults, but no research has examined whether young children are motivated by perceived eating norms.FindingsHere we investigated the effect on vegetable intake of exposing children to information about the vegetable intake of other children. One hundred and forty three children aged 6–11 years old took part in a between-subjects experiment. Children were exposed to information suggesting that other children had eaten a large amount of carrots, no carrots, or control information. Children ate more carrots when they believed that other children had eaten a large amount of carrots, compared to all other conditions.
Conclusions:
Perceived eating norms can influence vegetable intake in young children and making use of eating norms to promote healthier eating in children warrants investigation.

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