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Rewards can be used effectively with repeated exposure to increase liking of vegetables in 4–6-year-old children

  • Nadia Corsini (a1), Amy Slater (a2), Adam Harrison (a3), Lucy Cooke (a4) and David N Cox (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980011002035
  • Published online: 07 September 2011
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To examine whether parents offering a sticker reward to their child to taste a vegetable the child does not currently consume is associated with improvements in children's liking and consumption of the vegetable.

Design

A randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of exposure only (EO) and exposure plus reward (E + R), relative to a control group, on children's liking and consumption of a target vegetable. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 2 weeks from baseline (post-intervention). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 4 weeks and 3 months from baseline.

Setting

The study took place in Adelaide, South Australia. Participants were self-selected in response to local media advertisements seeking to recruit parents finding it difficult to get their children to eat vegetables.

Subjects

Participants were 185 children (110 boys, seventy-five girls) aged 4–6 years and their primary caregiver/parent (172 mothers, thirteen fathers).

Results

The E + R group was able to achieve more days of taste exposure. Both EO and E + R increased liking at post-intervention compared with control and no further change occurred over the follow-up period. All groups increased their intake of the target vegetable at post-intervention. Target vegetable consumption continued to increase significantly over the follow-up period for E + R and control but not for EO.

Conclusions

The findings provide support for the effectiveness of using a sticker reward with a repeated exposure strategy. In particular, such rewards can facilitate the actual tastings necessary to change liking.

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*Corresponding author: Email nadia.corsini@csiro.au
Linked references
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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