Study: Rebellion could prompt teens to eat better

- Back in the old days you'd hear this all the time from parents and teachers: "Why do you have to eat your fruits and veggies? Because I say so."

But those hardline rules don't work anymore with today's cool kids. They're simply too savvy to be spoon-fed clichés.

It seems now that the way to get kids to really pay attention to healthy eating is rebellion. Looking at junk foods and processed foods the same way they look at the greedy corporate establishment.

It is kind of like those truth campaign ads you see on MTV: anti-smoking commercials that target big tobacco instead of the health risks of lighting up.

In fact, those ads got University of Chicago Professor Christopher Bryan thinking: "If that kind of message keeps kids off cigarettes could it also keep them away from the snack isle?" He split a class of teens into two groups. Some learned about manipulation inside the food industry while others were given the traditional spiel about the importance of good nutrition.

The next day they got a choice between junk food and healthy snacks. They were significantly more likely to make healthy choices if they read about how the food industry is trying to trick kids into eating junk food, Professor Bryan said.

Some food for thought? Yeah that's a cliché too, but Professor Bryan said this one works. He said teenagers don't get enough credit. He said adults can speak to teens more effectively by taking them more seriously.

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