New study shows healthy beverage messaging in kids storybooks can motivate parents to serve their kids healthier beverages

Oct 27, 2021

Parents play an important role in influencing what their kids eat and drink. Harvard, Wayne State University, Stanford, and University of California researchers discovered in a new study that parents who read kids' storybooks with messaging on healthy beverages are more likely to serve their children healthier beverages–such as water–and are less likely to serve their children sugary drinks. Parents who read the storybooks are also more likely to consider sugary drinks as unhealthy beverages. The study was conducted with a diverse group of over 2000 parents with children aged six months to five years old. Parents in the study read pages from the children's book Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water, developed by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County to encourage young children to drink healthy beverages. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Study co-authors include Anna Grummon, Dina Goodman, Meg Salvia, and Aviva Musicus from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Christina Hecht from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute, Rebeccah Sokol from Wayne State University, and Anisha Patel from Stanford. The study was funded by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County. The book, which is approved for use in SNAP-Ed programming, is available for free in English and Spanish in digital format online.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist