We all remember our teenage years. Well, ok, maybe they're fuzzier for some of us than for others, but they happened. It was that period of life when you felt a little bit invincible, a little bit misunderstood, and a little bit like every sad song on the radio was a part of the soundtrack to the morose, soul-searching indie movie that was your life.
Yikes, might’ve dug too deep there. The point is, when you’re a teenager you have a pretty unique worldview. It’s why teens love to rebel (just ask James Dean).
And now, at least according to a study coming outof the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, it’s possible to use that rebellious worldview to convince 16-year-olds to eat healthier. All you have to do is make them believe eating vegetables is anti-establishment. (Which, it turns out, is possible!)
As Science Daily reports, researchers working with 8th graders framed healthy eating as a way of rebelling against current food-industry marketing practices that encourage over-indulgence in junk foods. To really hammer things home, the researchers then talked about some of the calculated ways in which the industry targeted lower-income groups or young children with advertisements for particularly unhealthy products. By doing so, researchers framed eating healthy as an act of independence and a refusal to let “the system” manipulate their habits.
As one researcher explained “We framed healthy eating as a way to ‘stick it to the man’ — we cast the executives behind food marketing as controlling adult authority figures and framed the avoidance of junk food as a way to rebel against their control.”
The result? A classroom full of 14-year-olds ready to rebel against BIG SODA.
In a similar experiment, researchers saw a seven percent increase in teens choosing water over sugary drinks. That’s no small feat: According to Science Daily, even a reduction that small can make a difference of about a pound of body fat every 6-8 weeks.
So there you have it, teens: Eating veggies is cool. Now, drop those French fries immediately (and give them to us, please, thanks).
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