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No appetite for fussy-eaters app

It’s a perennial problem and one which causes teatime traumas at many a kitchen table. Just how do we get kids to eat their vegetables?

Many parents may have their own particular solutions, from arranging them into smiley face shapes on the plate – to blatant bribery.

But now, researchers at Aston and DeMontfort Universities have devised what they say is an interactive solution – a smartphone app called Vegetable Maths Masters – a ‘free fun maths app using vegetables’.  The mind boggles.

Apparently children choose a character to play with and ‘feed vegetables’ to that character using maths-based activities.

Their character then gives verbal feedback to ‘encourage vegetable consumption’, such as ‘Yummy – I love broccoli!’ Seriously?

According to the developers, the app has been developed by academic experts in child eating behaviour and human computer interaction, with input from children, parents and teachers. They say ‘it is underpinned by research evidence into effective ways to support children’s mathematical skills and to promote healthy eating’.

Now call me old-fashioned, but I fail to see how encouraging children to spend even more time on a smartphone is going to lead to the sudden desire for a bowl of sprouts.

Phones have no place at the dinner table. Instead, what’s needed is human interaction, with parents leading by example.

And if little ones are still not keen on the green stuff, they can always do what I used to do. Hold one’s nose while chewing. Or go hungry.

Simple.

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