« HOW TO ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO ADOPT A HEALTHIER DIET? »
Children are the future of the world, but if we have to judge the future health level we have a terrible view of the future, based on the actual children’s eating habits. Children nowadays eat a lot of processed foods rich in fat and sugar or salt, while their intake of fruit and vegetables is far below their needs. This is not only a personal or family problem, but is one of the most important problems in public health. Obviously many public health experts tried to modify children’s eating habits through different methodologies.
Teaching the nutrient composition of the healthy foods was the most common technique applied in different settings, but this approach has not been effective in improving children’s eating habits. The result is quite obvious, as food choice by children is rarely related to health consciousness, being instead strongly related to familiarity and hedonic value of a specific food.
Technology is one of the main components of our lives and children are very expert in its use, thus using technology in nutritional education is a smart idea. However, the use of new technologies such as advergames should be carefully applied, as the results could be quite disappointing and opposite to the aim.
Children like stories and stimulating them to develop stories involving fruit and vegetables could be a positive method to give them an active role in deciding their own eating habits.
In a world overwhelmed by financial problems, the development of innovative and exciting low cost programs designed to improve children’s food choice, would have the advantages of being highly sustainable, and able to be implemented over the long term.
Whatever method is implemented it is important to remember that adults are responsible for the health of children and it requires longterm effort to promote healthy eating habits.