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Eating Veggies Is Fun! An Implementation Pilot Study in Partnership With a YMCA in South Los Angeles
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    Purpose and Objectives

    Children eat less than recommended amounts of vegetables. Repeated taste exposure can increase children’s acceptance of initially disliked vegetables. However, implementation of this strategy is lacking. We conducted a pilot study to assess the feasibility of implementing an evidence-based intervention to promote liking of initially disliked vegetables among children enrolled in a YMCA summer camp.

    Intervention Approach

    We adapted a research-tested intervention to promote child liking of vegetables for implementation in small groups. In summer 2015, 50 children aged 7 to 12 years were invited to taste 5 initially disliked vegetables daily for 10 days.

    Evaluation Methods

    Children rated how much they liked vegetables on a 5-point emoji-like faces Likert scale at baseline and 2- and 4-week follow-up. The mean ratings for liked and initially disliked vegetables were estimated over time using mixed effects modeling.


    We achieved excellent participation of parents and children; however, we experienced nonstudy-related attrition caused by disenrollment of some children from the weekly camp program. The average liking increased over time (linear trend, P = .003) for the 5 targeted vegetables but not for the other nontargeted vegetables, as predicted.

    Implications for Public Health

    This pilot study suggests that repeated vegetable tasting opportunities offered by community programs may be a practical strategy for introducing low-income, young children to new or initially disliked vegetables. The study demonstrates the feasibility of implementing a health promotion strategy that has the potential to improve population health in a community setting in an underresourced neighborhood.

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