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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 Published at 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK

UK: Wales

Children told - carrots can be cool

Children eating junk food could become a thing of the past

Researchers at a Welsh university have devised a scheme for convincing children to eat healthily and be cool at the same time.

The £500,000 programme called Food Dudes has been created by University of Wales College Bangor and encourages youngsters to eat more fruit and veg without getting bored.

Food Dudes has proved a success during trials and plans are being devised to extend it in the hope of changing long-term eating habits among children.

BBC Wales's Robert Thomas reports on healthy eating
The university's School of Psychology has been working with children in the home, in schools and at day care nurseries for more than seven years.

The research team has already amassed a wealth of data showing children's tastes can be influenced by peer pressure.

Team member Elinor Elis-Williams said the statistics made encouraging reading.

"By using videos and games, we can affect sustained changes in children's eating habits, for six months or more," she said.

"What we are hoping is that this is a life change."

Imaginative food

Appearance is regarded as all-important and imaginatively-shaped or presented fruit and veg have proved popular in the trials.

Funding has been provided by the Horticultural Development Council, the Fresh Produce Consortium and six of the nation's largest food supermarkets.

It is not the first time that attempts have been made in Wales to convince children to eat healthy foods.

The Deeside-based frozen foods company Iceland has already tried cut-out shaped veg to attract children and the idea proved a great hit.

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