• When it Comes to Food, Kids Respond Better to "Do" Rather than "Don't"

    People respond better to positive messages than negative warnings when it comes to nutrition
  • Do vs Don't

    Photo from sciencedaily.com and credit to Daniel Miller

    Which do you think kids respond to better: telling them to stop eating candy or telling them to eat an apple? Science Daily tells us it’s the latter.

    Experts advise that parents tell their children what they can do instead of what they can’t as a new discovery found that most people do not respond well to negative messages when it comes to health and nutrition.

    The study by Cornell Food & Brand Lab showed that focusing on “Do” is better than focusing on “Don’t”. For example, it is better to stress on the benefits of having a healthy and active diet rather than giving warnings against unhealthy food and not getting enough exercise.

    Researchers analyzed data from 43 international studies and found that negative messages worked best for experts, nutritionists and physicians, who were knowledgeable on the subject. For most regular folks, positive messages were more effective, like being told the benefits of something as opposed to its ill-effects.

    “If you're a parent, it's better to focus on the benefits of broccoli and not the harms of hamburgers,” said lead author Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design.

    The study was published in Nutrition Reviews and will be presented at the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior’s Annual Conference 2015.

    So next time you visit the grocery store with the kids, it might be wiser to explain the good things vegetables and fruits do to the body instead of telling them that a bag of chips could harm their kidney.


    Sources:
    May 27, 2015. "'Do' is better than 'don't' when it comes to eating better". sciencedaily.com
    May 28, 2015. "Findings cast dim light on public health campaigns that use fear approach to make people to eat better". news-medical.net

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