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New Cornell Center Applies Behavioral Economics To Encourage Healthier Eating In Schools

October 12, 2010: 04:55 AM EST

Cornell University’s new Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, launched in part with a $1 million grant from the USDA, will apply the principles of behavioral economics to distribute information on ways U.S. schools can imaginatively "nudge" – rather than force – students to eat a healthier diet. The Center, for example, encourages placing fruits and vegetables in more attractive locations in schools and putting chocolate milk behind regular milk to make it a bit more difficult to grab. In one pilot study a school tripled salad eating by placing the salad bar into a bottleneck area in the checkout line. In  another, a school doubled fruit consumption by putting fruits in a well-lit and attractive basket instead of a steel bin.

Stacey Shackford, "New center, with $1 million grant, aims to make school lunchrooms smarter", Chronicle Online, Cornell University, October 12, 2010, © Cornell University
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