Pay kids to eat produce?

What is it worth to you to have your child eat  fruits and vegetables  ?                    happy-little-chef-vegetables-13440834          New federal rules to the school nutrition program have resulted in an extra $5.4 million in produce served every day. But students discard about 70% of it.

Published in the December 2013 issue of Public Health Nutrition , researchers from Brigham Young University and Cornell discovered that directly paying students to eat a fruit or vegetable can save money and increase intakes.

Just and Price conducted week-long experiments in 15 different schools. Some students earned a nickel, others a quarter, and still others earned a raffle ticket for a larger prize. Regardless of the reward the results were about the same. Produce intake increased by 80% and food waste declined by 33%. According to Price, “rewards can be really powerful if the activity creates a new skill or changes preferences”. Think “potty” training or your employer-based wellness program.

When the week of prizes ended, students went back to eating the same level of fruits and vegetables: no improvement but not less than before the rewards. Researchers are now testing to see if extending the rewards over 3-5 weeks will produce a lasting change.   Stay tuned.

Post by Nadine

About nadineandadamblog

Nadine and Adam are mother and son. Nadine lives in Florida where she has provided outpatient MNT in a large healthsystem for the past 20 years. In addition, she teaches nutrition to second and third year family medicine residents. She is a past-spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Adam lives in Washington State. His career has largely been involved in recipe development and food production. He is currently developing recipes and menus for the Seattle schools to meet the new federal guidelines for school nutrition programs and he does outpatient nutrition counseling. He is also a voice in PSAs over Seattle radio representing the Washington Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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