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Food for thought: Using psychology for school lunch choices

October 13, 2010

I’ve just finished reading an interesting article on The Huffington Post: School Cafeterias To Try Psychology In Lunch Line. I think think the USDA has hit on something here. The idea is that instead of trying to force health on kids in the lunch room, you make the healthier choices the more convenient choices. They’re basically taking their cues from marketing tricks used in grocery stores and the like. I think this is a fabulous idea, and while it won’t cure childhood obesity, I think it’s a step in the right direction and will definitely help many kids from making mindless bad choices simply because they were convenient.

From the article:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

Some tricks already judged a success by Cornell researchers: Keep ice cream in freezers without glass display tops so the treats are out of sight. Move salad bars next to the checkout registers, where students linger to pay, giving them more time to ponder a salad. And start a quick line for make-your-own subs and wraps, as Corning East High School in upstate New York did.

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