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March 5, 2009
Want your children to eat healthful food? Serve them X-Ray Vision Carrots! That's the news from researchers at Cornell University, who tested this on 186 four-year-olds. They ate almost twice as many X-Ray Vision Carrots as they did plain old baby carrots. The children kept eating about 50 percent more carrots even after the superhero names were discontinued.
The great news for parents: The carrots were one and the same. Cool names make for cool foods, according to researcher Brian Wansink, who tested the supercharged veggie names. He is a professor of marketing at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think Wansink points out that the attraction to glammed-up names isn't unique to kids; grown-ups go for seductive descriptions on restaurant menus in a big way. In one memorable study, he found that adults thought a California cabernet much more delightful than a North Dakota wine. Both bottles were actually "Two-Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's.
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March 2, 2009
Flu can kill healthy kids, and the scariest part for parents is that it's impossible to know if your child will be one of those horrible rare cases. The two Maryland teenagers who died suddenly of the flu late last month—13-year-old Ian Willis of Urbana and 15-year-old Zachary Weiland of Woodbine—seemed to be having the typical miserable, achy run-in with the flu, until their symptoms suddenly worsened. In both cases, the parents took their child swiftly to the emergency room, but doctors weren't able to save the boys.
"People look at influenza as a mere nuisance," says Thomas Skinner, a spokesperson for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "That normally is the case. But we do see that influenza can kill healthy young people." The only defense, infectious-disease officials say, is a flu shot, and this year, for the first time, the CDC recommends seasonal flu shots for all children ages 6 months to 18. With the flu season running through the end of the month, parents who thought they would forgo it might want to reconsider, even this late in the season.