New York: Do you know why it becomes difficult to say decline ice-cream or cupcakes even when you have become a father yourself? According to researchers, media plays a major role in influencing attitudes of kids toward different foods. What kids read about food when they were young translates to eating habits they maintain through adulthood. “Toddlers do not have independent opinions of food being desirable or not until media — television and books tell them what to like and not like,” www.elle.com reported on Friday. When nutrient-poor foods are presented not only frequently but positively, they likely contribute to children’s view of them as both normative and desirable. The study, published in the journal Appetite, examined how media influences attitudes towards different foods items in kids aged between two and four.
“Kids will basically eat anything unless we allow them to be picky. Shortly after introducing solid foods at around six months, children’s palates are in the exploration mode and behaviour is not generally tied to their food yet,” Dr Tricia Gold from Tribeca Pediatrics in US was quoted as saying in the New York Magazine. Since books follow television as the most popular media source for kids, the researchers surveyed 100 fiction and non-fiction children’s books to see how often food was depicted. In children’s books, ice cream stood out because it was often painted as “offered as a treat to celebrate an occasion, making someone feel better, and/or to indicate a happy ending.” No other food enjoyed such a specific status with such a privileged connotation. Parents can guide kids to love vegetables by introducing books that “emphasise depictions of healthy foods” as well, the researchers noted.
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