-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- College students are more
likely to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables when these healthy
options are placed where they can easily reach them, a new study
Students also ate more fruit when it was made clearly visible to
them, according to the report recently released online in the
Environment and Behavior.
For the study, Gregory Privitera, an assistant professor of
psychology at St. Bonaventure University in New York, and Heather
Creary, an undergraduate student there, recruited 96 college
students and offered them fruits and vegetables. Apple slices and
baby-cut carrots were put in either clear or opaque bowls and
placed on tables that were close to the participants or on a table
about 6.5 feet away.
The students were left alone with the food for 10 minutes.
During that time, the study revealed, they were more likely to eat
the fruits and vegetables when they were placed close to them.
Making the food more visible made the students eat more apples, but
not carrots. The researchers suggested that the fact that fruit is
sweeter may have spurred more motivation to eat the apples.
"Apples, but not carrots, have sugar, which is known to stimulate brain reward regions that induce a 'wanting' for foods that contain sugar," the study authors explained in a journal news release. "Hence, apple slices may be more visually appealing than carrots."
The findings could offer colleges and universities ideas on how
to improve the layout of their dining halls to promote healthy
eating among students.
"Many dining facilities on college campuses are structured in a buffet," the researchers noted. Placing healthy foods closest to seating areas or entrances and visible, such as in open containers at the front of the buffet, could increase intake of these foods among college students, they said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
eating fruits and vegetables.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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