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Kids eat more fruit when it looks good

Want to make your kid eat more apples, strawberries and grapes? Well, then try to make the fruits look good.

A new study, studied nearly 100 pupils in the Netherlands and Belgium to reach the above conclusion. Children aged four to seven were presented apples, strawberries and seedless grapes in different ways.

When given a choice, the children plumped for these fruits more readily when they were made into a hedgehog — skewered with colourful cocktail sticks that were pierced into a watermelon. The same cubed fruits didn’t entice the children’s palates when they were simply offered on a white dish.

The study found that kids ate nearly twice as much of the ‘fun’ fruit, even though they said they understood that both fruit options should taste the same.

Attractive packaging and “perhaps adding a little toy, like the toy that comes with a Happy Meal, to the packaging could make this kind of snack even more appealing”, the boffins said. “It is probably necessary for parents and food producers to remain innovative,” they added.

Dr Laura Wyness, British Nutrition Foundation, said: “It is advisable to try to make food as appetising as possible”. “How food looks probably does have quite an influence, especially for kids who are getting used to different types of food.”

Dietary protein may help prevent hip fractures

Higher levels of dietary protein may protect seniors from hip fractures, a new study claims. It was conducted by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

The study, which examined the daily protein intake of 946 seniors from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, found that individuals who were in the lowest 25 per cent of dietary protein intake had approximately 50 per cent more hip fractures than those who consumed greater amounts of dietary protein (all within normal intakes). Those who suffered hip fractures consumed less than the 46 grams of dietary protein per day recommended for adults.

“Participants who consumed higher amounts of protein in their diet were significantly less likely to suffer a hip fracture,” said Marian T Hannan, co-director, Musculoskeletal Research Programme at the institute.

Print media followers make healthier choices

A new research claims that people who turn to print media for their daily dose of health news are at a greater advantage than those who use digital media for health information.

“I think much is to be learned about health information-seeking behaviours and their relationship to the adoption of health behaviours in various demographic groups,” said Nicole Redmond, who led the team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“One of the challenges in this area is the rapidly evolving nature of information technology. Telecommunications such as text messaging and internet access through smart phones and social networking sites have created a very different communications landscape in a very short time frame,” Redmond added.

Post analysis, Redmond and her colleagues found that print media, community organisations and health care providers showed the strongest associations. Earlier surveys in 2005 and 2007 had shown similar trends.

“I was not entirely surprised by the role of community organisations, but I did expect that friends and family would have shown a significant association with some health behaviours as well,” said Redmond.

Venom website hopes to cut snake bite deaths

A website has been launched by the World Health Organisation which it hopes will help cut the estimated 1,00,000 deaths caused annually by poisonous snakes.

The UN health agency said that the site has a database of approved anti-venoms to treat the 2.5 million people who suffer venomous bites each year.

According to WHO, many anti-venoms are inappropriate and have led to a loss of confidence among doctors and patients.

“The regions that are most in need are sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South-east Asia,” said Ana Padilla, a snake venom expert at WHO.

WHO’s co-ordinator for medicine safety, Dr Lembit Rago, said if the proper anti-venom is administered in time many deaths and serious consequences from snake bites can be prevented.

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