Comparison of five teacher actions to encourage children's new food acceptance

Ann Behav Med. Spring 1999;21(1):20-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02895029.


How can teachers encourage children to accept new fruits and vegetables? A quasi-experimental study with 64 preschool children (32 boys, 32 girls) compared the effectiveness of five teacher actions to encourage children's acceptance of four new fruits and vegetables presented during three preschool lunches. The five teacher actions included reward (special dessert), modeling, insisting children try one bite, choice-offering ("Do you want any of this?"), and a control condition of simple exposure.In factorial analyses of variance (two genders x five teacher actions), the five teacher actions produced differences in number of foods sampled (p<.001), number of meals during which foods were sampled (p<.004), and total number of bites (p<.002). Paired comparisons revealed that reward, insisting, and choice-offering were more effective than simple exposure to encourage number of foods, number of meals, and number of bites. Dessert reward and choice-offering were equally effective for all three measures of new food acceptance, but insisting produced fewer bites than did choice-offering. Under the present conditions, teacher modeling was ineffective compared to simple exposure. No gender differences were found in new food acceptance or in interactions with the five teacher actions to encourage new food acceptance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Child
  • Choice Behavior
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Sex Factors
  • Token Economy
  • Vegetables*