In a recent paper, researchers found that the use of social consensus interventions aided in changing mothers’ perceptions of healthy snacks and meals and may therefore be one means of increasing the quality of children’s diets.
Mothers were randomly assigned to either an experimental (social consensus intervention) or control group. Those in the social consensus intervention saw photographs of healthy and unhealthy meals and snacks and received information written by the researchers: “Previous research studies have found that 86% of parents would be extremely likely to serve this meal/snack to their child” or “Previous research studies have found that 84% of parents identified this meal/snack as a ‘kid-friendly’ food”. Mothers then rated how likely they would be to serve the food to their child and how kid-friendly they perceived the food to be.
The social consensus intervention did not change mothers’ reports of whether they would serve their child the healthy meal, however, it did increase the perceived kid-friendliness of the healthy meals. The researchers note that this may be because healthy behaviours may be more impacted by social norms than unhealthy behaviours, although further research is needed to verify this possibility.