BANGKOK, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Children watching Popeye cartoons results in them eating more vegetables, and not just spinach, researchers in Thailand say.
The researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok included Popeye cartoons as part of a nutrition education program that succeeded in doubling the intake of vegetables in kindergarten children.
Popeye is the heroic sailor who, since 1929, has downed cans of spinach to become super strong so he can defeat Brutus and other bad guys.
The study, published in Nutrition & Dietetics, also finds the program helped children increase the types of vegetables eaten from 2-4. Parents reported their children were proud to eat vegetables.
“We got the children planting vegetable seeds, taking part in fruit and vegetable tasting parties, cooking vegetable soup and watching Popeye cartoons,” lead researcher Chutima Sirikulchayanonta said in a statement. “We also sent letters to parents with tips on encouraging their kids to eat fruit and vegetables and teachers sat with children at lunch to role model healthy eating.”
Sirikulchayanonta and colleagues recorded fruit and vegetable intake in 26 children ages 4-5, both before and after introducing them to the program using multimedia and role models to promote healthy eating.
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