See and Eat! The impact of repeated exposure to vegetable ebooks on young children's vegetable acceptance

Masento, Natalie A.; Dulay, Katrina May; Roberts, Alan P.; Harvey, Kate; Messer, David and Houston-Price, Carmel (2023). See and Eat! The impact of repeated exposure to vegetable ebooks on young children's vegetable acceptance. Appetite, 182, article no. 106447.



Vegetable consumption in young children in the UK is well below the recommended five child-sized portions per day. Effective and practical strategies are therefore needed to encourage vegetable consumption in young children. In this exploratory study, we examine the effects of visual familiarization to foods via See & Eat ebooks, which show vegetables on their journey from ‘field to fork’. As part of a larger study, in which 242 British families completed a range of measures about their family's eating habits, child's food preferences and potential parent and child predictors of these (Masento et al., 2022), parents were invited to download a See & Eat ebook about a vegetable their child did not eat. Thirty-six families participated in the intervention, looking at the ebook with their child for two weeks and reporting on their child's willingness to taste, intake and liking of the vegetable targeted by the ebook and a matched control vegetable before and after the intervention period. Results showed significant increases in parental ratings of children's acceptance of the target vegetable. Willingness to taste and intake ratings improved for the target vegetable, but not the control vegetable, while liking was reported to increase for both vegetables. These results corroborate previous research demonstrating the benefits of familiarising children with vegetables before they are offered at mealtimes and suggest that ebooks can be added to the set of tools parents can use to support children's vegetable consumption.

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