Research Article| Volume 51, ISSUE 5, P519-527, May 2019

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Child-Centered Nutrition Phrases Plus Repeated Exposure Increase Preschoolers’ Consumption of Healthful Foods, but Not Liking or Willingness to Try



      To determine whether the use of child-centered nutrition phrases (CCNP) with repeated exposure (RE) improved willingness to try, liking, and consumption of healthful foods compared with RE alone.


      The researchers used a 2 × 2 × 4 fractionated within-subjects experimental design in the study: phrase condition (RE vs CCNP + RE) by time of measurement (preintervention, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up), by type of food (tomatoes, bell peppers, lentils, and quinoa).


      Children were recruited from 2 early education centers; 89% participated.


      Children aged 3–6 years old (n = 87) who were predominantly white (67%) and from middle-income homes and had parents with some higher education.


      Adult delivery of CCNP + RE weekly for 6 weeks.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Willingness to try, change in liking, and change in consumption.


      Two-level random-effects models were used to account for repeated measurements of willingness to try, liking, and consumption nested within participants.


      Children exhibited greater consumption of CCNP foods at follow-up assessment compared with RE foods (b = –16.28, SE = 5.41, t(528) = 3.01; P = .003).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Use of CCNP combined with RE may encourage healthy eating, especially for novel foods that children may typically refuse.

      Key Words

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      Linked Article

      • Just One Bite?
        Journal of Nutrition Education and BehaviorVol. 53Issue 4
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          A familiar phrase for both nutritionists and parents who are trying to increase the willingness of young children to try novel food. It is not a new area of study. However, I was intrigued by a study published in JNEB in 2002,1 where the number of children willing to try a novel vegetable (kohlrabi) was so high (76%) in the positive treatment group (storybook reading with positive kohlrabi message) that the results and study were severely limited. The authors had pretested the scenario with a small sample in which less than half were willing to taste the vegetable.
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