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Peer Pressure Can Positively Influence Kids Health

The only thing more challenging than maintaining a healthy diet in this day and age is raising healthy kids. The parents of America are in a nonstop battle to prevent childhood obesity and poor heart health, and instill in children the long-term value of a healthy diet. As advocates of healthy nutrition and an active lifestyle for kids, Juice Plus+ has seen this first hand. Fortunately, there are new allies in the mission of kids health called Healthy Buddies, a program where younger kids receive their know-how on healthy eating not from adults, but from older kids.

An adult doesn’t always make for the best role model for children, and this may change the way we as a society approach the conversation on healthy eating for kids for years to come. Jonathan McGavock, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and lead researcher, said “Engaging older youth in delivering health messages to younger peers is an effective method for preventing weight gain, improving knowledge of healthy living and increasing self-esteem.” Research on the effects of Juice Plus+ through the Juice Plus+ Children’s Health Study supports this finding by showing that 67% of kids whose diets were enriched by Juice Plus+ during a 3-year study reflected improved self-esteem. This study also shows that 76% of kids who used Juice Plus+ were more physically active than they had been previously, not counting any extracurricular activities (participation in which also increased).

It makes perfect sense that a child’s self-esteem and willingness to change would be the most influenced by other children, because they are a part of the same social ecosystem. When it comes to encouraging healthy habits, older children instinctively know how to reach their younger peers, because they believe in the same things and speak the same language. “The effects of this peer mentoring model of healthy living promotion is particularly effective for overweight children,” McGavock stated. Research on Juice Plus+ and kids health shows that 81% of kids who use Juice Plus+ eat less fast food and consume fewer soft drinks each week.

“In my many interactions with parents regarding the importance of good nutrition in childhood, one of the more frequent protests over the years has been peer pressure,” said Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and Juice Plus+ Preventive Health Advisor. In this case however, peer pressure may prove to be a benefit in helping to instill healthy behaviors and positive messages in children.

Dr. Katz has been an advocate of Juice Plus+ to support kid’s nutrition for years and has seen the benefits of Juice Plus+ for kids’ health with his own eyes. In addition to other positive results, 66% of kids who used Juice Plus+ had improved academic performance, and 83% of kids increased their water intake and hydration according to Children’s Health Study results.

Healthy Buddies could mark the beginning of a new approach to kid’s health and in how we fight childhood obesity, an important cause for Juice Plus+. What tactics have you found successful for improving kid’s health? Share with us in the comments below.  

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