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Getting to the root of why kids don’t like vegetables

Child feeding experts at Loughborough University are hoping to unearth the reasons why some pre-schoolers simply refuse to eat vegetables.

In early to middle childhood, it’s very common for children to refuse certain foods. This phase, known as neophobia, serves an evolutionary purpose to stop newly mobile children from eating foods which may do them harm.

It is thought humans may be genetically programmed to be wary of vegetables, due to their typically bitter taste which is historically associated with poisonous fruits.  

University researcher Clare Holley wants to understand the problems parents and primary caregivers face, in order to develop effective strategies to encourage children to eat more vegetables. She said:

“Parents know the health benefits of eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, which makes it even more frustrating when their little ones refuse to eat them.

“I want to speak to parents whose children are refusing vegetables so I can develop practical tools and advice to help alleviate the stress parents experience whilst trying to give their child a healthy and balanced diet.”

Clare is looking for parents and primary caregivers whose 2-4 year-olds refuse, or are very reluctant, to eat a variety of vegetables.

Participants will be invited to an informal group meeting where they can discuss the problems they face with Clare and other parents in a similar situation.

To take part in the research contact Clare on 01509 228151 or email c.holley@lboro.ac.uk

Clare is part of the Loughborough University Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED) within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS).

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 14/45

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

Contacts

Amanda Overend
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224