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Avoiding fussy eating by children with three R's

By Tim Sandle     Jul 2, 2015 in Health
Birmingham - A new study purports to tell parents how easy it is to avoid fussy eating habits with their children. This takes the form of three apparently easy steps, according to a research article.
The advice from parents has come from the U.K., the outcome of a collaborative study conducted by Aston and Loughborough Universities. The advice takes the form of "three Rs" which are: Repetition, Role Modelling and Rewards. The research contends that if these three behavioral messages are emphasized and enforced at meal times, then this practice will overcome fussy eating and lead to children eating the food that is put in front of them, no matter how many vegetables or other foodstuff is piled onto their plate.
The psychological model works like this:
First, repeatedly expose a child to a certain food ('repetition');
Second, the parent should eat the food first to show the child just how tasty the food is ('role modelling');
Third and finally, the parent should praise the child for trying it ('rewards').
Through such "positive reinforcement" it is claimed at a parent can change their child's view and response to various foods.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the model, trials were carried out on 115 kids aged between two and four years old. The children were divided up into four groups and given the same vegetable with their main meals over a two week period. Each group was subject to a different food reinforcement method. The technique that came out tops was the aforementioned "three Rs" method.
At the end of the pilot, children who were subjected to the "three Rs" method munched their way through 4 grams per meal of unspecified vegetables. Whereas, at the start of the study, this same group would eat only an average of 0.6 grams of veg per meal.
The research has been published in a journal called Appetite, and the article is titled “Why don’t you try it again?’ A comparison of parent led, home based interventions aimed at increasing children's consumption of a disliked vegetable.”
More about fussy eating, Meals, Food, Children, Vegetables
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