If you have a young child who refuses to eat vegetables, you might consider giving him or her a reward for trying them. In a study presented earlier this month at the European Congress on Obesity, Dutch researchers placed almost 600 children between the ages of 1 and 4 into three groups: exposure to vegetables with a reward, exposure with no reward, and no exposure and no reward. The kids in the first two groups were given the opportunity to try a range of vegetables every day for three months. Those in the reward group were given fun, non-food rewards such as a sticker or toy when they tried vegetables. At the start of the study, children in all three groups were willing to try 5 to 6 vegetables, but only the children in the reward group increased the number of vegetables they were willing to try by the end of the experiment. The researchers emphasize that a non-food reward is likely to have the best results.
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