Based on their experience during countless schleps to the market, moms know that kids pick cereals whose boxes have cartoon characters on them. Previous research by Yale scientists explained the phenomenon: kids say that the stuff poured from such boxes tastes better than the same stuff when poured from a cartoon-less box. The same thing happens when kids pick graham crackers, carrots and gummy fruit snacks.
Pictures of Shrek, Dora the Explorer, Scooby Doo and their kin make just about anything taste yummier, it seems.
Can this observation be leveraged to encourage kids to select healthier foods? Yes, it turns out. But the story isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.
To study the impact of licensed media spokescharacters and other nutrition cues on kids’ taste assessment of food products, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania fed cereal from a box that had been labeled either “Sugar Bits” or “Healthy Bits” to 80 kids. Half the boxes in each “brand category” were adorned with cute cartoon penguins, while the other half were not. The kids were between 4 and 6 years old. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*
The organizations that rate hospitals and doctors have proliferated as the internet has become mainstream over the past 5 years. I’m sure you have seen some of these: U.S. World & News Reports, Consumer Reports Health, Health Grades, Leapfrog, Hospital Compare, Americas Best Doctors and 100 Best Hospitals. My local magazine lists the “top doctors” along with full page paid ads and promos that are very compelling. The questions is, do consumers care? Are these rating agencies really steering people toward top quality in health care?
Each of these agencies and organizations that “rate” have different measurements and criteria for their choices. The top rankings do not necessarily relate to quality outcomes. The Medicare data are two years old. Different treatments and conditions are judged, so a “top” hospital in one area may be a loser in another. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Over at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru theorizes that people want more control over how they spend their health care dollars:
[Ezra] Klein’s argument is that if employees understood that the employer’s alleged share of their health-care costs are really part of their wages — and if they saw it on their paychecks — they would be more supportive of cost control. I agree with that. But I assume he means (based on his examples in this op-ed) that they would be more supportive of cost controls imposed by HMOs or Congress. I think they would be more inclined to favor turning over control of health insurance from their employers to themselves, and making the cost-quality trade-offs for themselves with their own money. Under the status quo, those trade-offs are made by other people and the fact that it’s the employees’ money is obscured.
It sounds nice in theory. But in practice it seems to be exactly wrong.
Here’s why. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*