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food choices

PositiveTip for

Apples More Popular with an Elmo Sticker

Kids want more apples when Elmo likes them!

Can a Muppet character really encourage healthy eating? When lunchtime apples carried a picture of the Sesame Street puppet Elmo, 68% more grade school kids choose to take them compared to when they had no sticker! If the apples had a sticker of an unfamilar character, only 20% more were taken. However, Elmo stickers on cookies did not have a similar effect because 95% of children took a cookie.

PositiveTip: Attractive names and familar characters can increase the selection of healthier foods.

PositiveTip for

Tired People Make Poor Food Choices

Sleepiness may encourage bad food choices.

Ever wondered why you have such a hard time resisting that mouth-watering, high-calorie desert? If you are sleep deprived, this could be part of the answer. Preliminary experiments with healthy, normal-weight volunteers found that those who are sleep deprived experience brain changes that make them more susceptible to making poor dietary choices. Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans showed that specific areas of the frontal lobes responsible for making wise choices were negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

PositiveTip: Get adequate sleep each night to support healthy decision-making.