"The strategy not only works in the short term, but can create healthful eating habits in children in the long run if the little bribe is carried out consistently for several weeks, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Health Economics.
“As a parent, imagine that there’s something to do that might be worth my effort, and I get the long-term benefit,” says Joseph Price, associate professor of economics at Brigham Young University. He co-wrote the paper with George Loewenstein, professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, and Kevin Volpp, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
For a year and a half, the researchers carried out a study of 8,000 children in first through sixth grade at 40 elementary schools to test whether short-run incentives could create better, and lasting, eating habits in children.
At lunchtime, students who ate at least one serving of fruit or vegetable, such as an apple, fresh peaches, pineapple, side salad or a banana, received a 25-cent token that could be redeemed at the school’s store, carnival or book fair.
The researchers saw an immediate spike in consumption, Dr. Price says. “These small incentives produced a dramatic increase in fruit and vegetable consumption during the incentive period,” the researchers wrote. “This change in behavior was sustained.”
Two months after the incentives ended, many more students than before the program started were still eating a fruit or vegetable at lunch. For schools that provided the 25-cent incentive for three weeks, 21% more children were eating at least one serving of fruit or vegetable at lunch than before."
Saturday, January 07, 2017
How Parents Might Get Their Kids To Eat Vegetables
Pay them. As economists like to keep saying, incentives matter. See Here’s Why You Should Pay Your Children to Eat Their Vegetables: Study finds short-term cash incentives yield more-healthful eating habits in the long term by Beckie Strum of the WSJ. Excerpt: