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Children Who Help Prepare Meals Grow Healthier

Children Who Help Prepare Meals Grow Healthier

(epharmanews)- Parents often struggle to convince their children to eat healthy food rather than junk food. Researchers found an easy way to convince kids with eating healthy food: let them help you cook.

Researchers surveyed 5th graders in 151 schools across the Alberta, Canada. Their findings suggest that by letting children help prepare meals, they will get used to eating healthy foods and will actually enjoy them.

Study lead author Dr. Yen Li Chu, a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Public Health said: “Kids who like fruits and vegetables more tend to eat them more frequently and have better diets,”

“These data show that encouraging kids to get involved in meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy for schools and parents.” She added.

The study, published online by Public Health Nutrition, found that nearly 30 percent of the surveyed children helped preparing meals at least once a day; another 30 percent helped prepare a meal at least once a week. While nearly 25 percent helped only once a month and only less than 12.5 percent never helped at preparing meals.

Children preferred fruits to vegetables generally. However, children who helped their parents with cooking preferred both fruits and vegetables much greater. Children who helped cook preferred vegetables 10 percent more than others who did not help.

The findings also showed that children who helped cooking and preparing meals were more confident about the importance of making healthier food choices. Researchers also say that if children get used to eating healthier food will promote bone and muscle development.

Health benefits of healthy foods are not limited to children, say researchers; they can also be seen in all other ages. Healthy foods protect against obesity, and more importantly they reduce risks of chronic pains.

Children involvement in meal preparation at home may have a greater impact if supported at school. Although these findings were only proved in 5th graders, the lessons are equally applicable to older youth, including post-secondary students.

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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon

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