Do you work in the health field? Are you a pediatrician, family doctor, nurse, dietitian, or a public health professional. Or maybe you’re just interested in the health aspects of childhood obesity.
This page is for those concerned about the childhood obesity epidemic and who want to learn a new approach to help prevent it. To curb the childhood obesity problem, it is important to focus on young children as they develop their eating habits. This aim is a recommendation of many nutrition and public health advocates and researchers.
Getting kids to enjoy and eat fruits and vegetables (FV) is an important strategy to reduce childhood obesity. Public health efforts often focus on increasing children’s access to FV. However, even with access through child nutrition programs, children often waste FV. While access to FV is essential, it alone does not prevent FV from being discarded, and may do little to change children’s perceptions of FV and their eating habits.
Efforts are needed to increase the appeal and desirability of FV. Increasing the appeal of FV increases their consumption and reduces waste, as well as complements programs to increase FV access and maximizes the impact of dollars spent to improve nutrition.
The Guinea Show (TGS) is a health promotion program for children ages 2 – 7. This program inspires young kids to try vegetables and fruit through a combination of education and entertainment. TGS incorporates multidisciplinary influences of health education, social cognitive theory, psychology, nutrition, music, imagery, early literacy, and parasocial relationships. Children learn by observation and role models.
TGS program consists of videos featuring Guinea, a cute guinea pig role model who enthusiastically consumes FV, along with teacher-led (or parent-led) activities to supplement the videos. Guinea embodies excitement about vegetables and fruit, eating nutritious FV with vigor. Young children are known to form parasocial relationships (attachment and friendship) with media characters, like Guinea, over time. Genuine, safe, and cute, Guinea becomes a credible messenger of information for young children about the positive—and delicious—benefits of healthy food choices. Like advertising, the videos are short, the imagery memorable, and the song catchy.
To date, twenty-two shows are available on the Streaming Membership site or as HD digital downloadable files and 20 shows are available on DVD. Each video is under two minutes long. The Guinea Show is easy-to-use, intuitive, low cost, and requires minimal training. This unique program uses the power of catchy advertising to influence children to make healthy food choices.
The home page shows three of The Guinea Show videos.
We are pleased to offer this helpful tool with this unique and new approach to engage children — getting their attention, their developing a positive identification and association with an unlikely, but very cute role model and ambassador of vegetables, and the powerful visual images of Guinea’s enthusiasm for vegetables and fruit.
Children seeing the guinea pig go right past the candy and cookies and instead choosing a vegetable or fruit provides a strong, impactful image and models a surprising, healthy choice. It opens the door to a novel perspective – can you believe that he would rather eat broccoli than sweets?
The Parent and Teacher Guide — Fun activities to supplement The Guinea Show is available with all The Guinea Show videos at our Streaming Membership site.
The Parent and Teacher Guide also comes with every Collection 1 DVD or Web Collection 1 (20 shows) download.