Study links water, healthy food

A team of researchers at the University of Oregon may have at last discovered how to get children to eat their vegetables.

The study suggests parents can encourage healthy and lasting food choices by their children by serving a glass of water at each meal.

The authors say behavioral research has found people correlate a glass of water with healthy food, and sugary drinks such as soda with unhealthy food.

“People have repeated exposure to combinations of food and drink, and they learn from them,” said Bettina Cornwell, a professor of marketing at the UO and co-author of the study. “Especially for kids, they learn that ‘this’ goes with ‘that.’ ”

“This” and “that” refer to common food pairings, for example that a soft drink is readily associated with fast-food meals or convenience store items. Cornwell said that water is often associated with healthy food, and that frequent consumption of water at the dinner table can create a healthier mindset with children.

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