Poelman AAM, Delahunty CM, Broch M, de Graaf C (2019) J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019 Sep;51(8): 985-992. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.06.009.
To evaluate the effectiveness of repeated exposure to multiple vs single target vegetables in increasing young children's vegetable intake.
A pilot randomized controlled trial (children aged 4-6 years, n = 32) was conducted, which exposed children at home 15 times over 5 weeks to either 1 (single target) or 3 (multiple target) vegetables. A comparison group did not change eating habits. Vegetable intake was measured by (1) a dinner meal consumed at research facilities, (2) 3-day weighed food records, and (3) usual vegetable intake (parent report). Measures were collected at baseline and either immediately after intervention (1), at 3-month follow-up (3) or both (2).
There were no differences between groups at baseline in vegetable intake. Usual vegetable intake increased in the multiple target group from .6 to 1.2 servings/d and did not change in other groups (P = .02). Food record data were not significant but underpowered. Vegetable intake from dinner meals was not significantly different between groups.
Exposure to multiple vegetables simultaneously may be more effective than a single vegetable to increase young children's intake. Larger scale research is recommended to confirm the effectiveness of offering variety in exposure and to enhance the understanding of the mechanisms involved.