Are you and your school working to improve the health and nutrition of young children? Getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables (FV) is an important strategy to reduce childhood obesity. FV are important for children’s health, growth, and development. Yet, 93% of children ages 2–18 years eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables and 60% of children consume fewer fruits than recommended.
The Guinea Show (TGS) is an educational and entertaining health promotion program that inspires young children to eat vegetables and fruit.
Efforts to increase children’s access to FV are essential, however some children simply waste the FV. Access alone may do little to change children’s perceptions of FV and their eating habits. Studies of food waste in schools have shown the high financial cost of good FV that end up in the trash in spite of their intent to improve children’s nutritional intake.
New, creative approaches to effectively promote FV intake are needed to increase the appeal and desirability of FV! Increasing the appeal of FV increases their consumption and reduces waste, which 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 eat 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. This unique program uses the power of catchy advertising to influence children to make healthy food choices.
TGS program consists of videos featuring Guinea, a cute guinea pig role model who enthusiastically consumes FV, along with teacher-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.
To date, 22 shows are available on the Streaming Membership site. Shows are also available as HD digital downloadable files and on DVD. Each video is under two minutes long. Children like Guinea!
The home page shows three of The Guinea Show videos.
In field testing, children talked about Guinea at meal times at preschool. Some children were willing to eat foods they hadn’t eaten all year because Guinea ate them. For example, a teacher shared that the children in her class would simply lick the cream cheese out of the celery. After her class watched Guinea eat celery, more of the children were willing to taste it. Some discovered they liked celery!
More tips on how to use The Guinea Show in a classroom are available. A few pointers are here. You can select the vegetable or fruit to be the Vegetable or Fruit of the Day. You might coordinate the vegetable or fruit of the day video that matches what you are serving that day. Then play that selected The Guinea Show video to your class. In field testing, teachers played it at least twice. Each The Guinea Show video is less than two minutes long.
After you show the video, discuss it with the children. The Teacher’s Guide includes simple discussion questions to encourage the children to talk about their experience with the Vegetable or Fruit of the Day. They also hear other children’s experiences which provides some peer influence. Some of the discussion questions help to draw out positive family influence as well.
The Parent and Teacher Guide is available along with all The Guinea Show videos at our Streaming Membership site.
Thank you for your interest in The Guinea Show and caring about our children. Do stay in touch with us.