A study published this month in medical journal Pediatrics suggests that young children can be influenced to eat fruits and vegetables in similar ways as burgers and potato chips. In 2013, researchers conducted a study involving more than 22,000 elementary students in 10 urban schools to scientifically test this theory. By hanging banners and showing kids television advertisements featuring cartoon “super-powered” vegetable characters, vegetable consumption among students increased by 239 percent in a mere six-week period compared to a control group of students who were not shown the banners and cartoons. Researchers measured the increase in consumption by tracking how many students took vegetables from the school’s salad bar. One of the paper’s authors, David R. Just, told The New York Times that “a lot of people have pushed back on this, saying marketing is evil. But I have to disagree. It’s possible to use marketing techniques to do some good things.”
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