Research into healthy eating was explored during a hands-on workshop at a local Dorset school.
Over 100 students at Glenmoor and Winton Academies attended the workshop, called VeggiEAT – Are You a Supertaster, to learn more about eating vegetables and to find out if there is a reason why people like or dislike vegetables.
The workshop was based on research being conducted at Bournemouth University by Dr Heather Hartwell, given to year 9 students as a part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Festival of Social Sciences.
Dr Hartwell, hosting the event, said to the gathered students, “Science isn’t just white men in coats; it can be about things like food too. The aim of VeggiEAT is to encourage more vegetable consumption among kids like you. We need to eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetable a day. The fact is, we don’t! Children of your age only eat, on average, 2.5 portions of fruit a day, and this needs to change.”
Students were then invited to taste vegetables and score their taste, to find out if they are a ‘supertaster’ and whether they like the vegetables they tasted. Students’ first taste test was with the sweetness of sweetcorn before they moved on to peas.
Dr Hartwell, along with other colleagues from Bournemouth University, then gave children a number of ideas about how to creatively eat five pieces of fruit or vegetable a day – explaining that one portion is about a handful of food.
VeggiEAT research looks to address the global public health challenges of reducing obesity and coronary heart disease. The workshop provided an opportunity to present the research in a fun and interesting way while promoting social science.
Three microwaves were donated to the School as a part of the event and children were given packs that included three pieces of fruit. Hartwell continued, “We wanted to give each student their whole 5-a-day allowance today to show them how easy it could be. Three pieces of fruit in their bags and the two they tasted.”
More details about the project are available on the VeggiEAT website.