A new U.S. study found that children are more likely to eat healthy foods if they are implicitly endorsed by their favorite characters and mascots.
Researchers offered children the choice of cookies or an apple with lunch, and found that children were more likely to choose the apple if it was branded with a sticker of a popular cartoon character.
In the study, researches branded apples with stickers of Elmo from Sesame Street on some days, while offering unbranded apples on other days. Cookies were always offered unbranded. According to the researchers, less than 25 percent of the children chose to eat an unbranded apple, compared to the 37 percent who ate the apple if it came with an Elmo sticker on it.
Researchers believe that parents can use the technique at home to make healthy food choices seem more appealing to finicky kids, and surmise that the branding approach creates positive associations with healthy foods.