Groundbreaking New Research Proves that Most Children Are in a Secret Elmo CultS

A new study cooked up by researchers from Cornell University has discovered that children can be induced to choose a healthy snack over an unhealthy snack if the healthy snack is endorsed by one of their icons, in this particular case, Elmo. The same marketing technique used to hawk incredibly unhealthy foods, i.e. cereal that is literally just small chocolate chip cookies, might also be capable of getting children to make healthy choices at lunch or snack time. In other words, children are really gullible and will pretty much do anything an affable, imaginary character commands them to do.

Researchers observed about 200 children between 8 and 11-years-old from seven different schools choose between a cookie and an apple. The first few go-rounds, participating children were offered an austere choice between unvarnished cooke and unvarnished apple, choosing at a 90 percent rate the cookie because cookies are awesome and apples can be really hit or miss this time of year. Then, researchers craftily added an Elmo sticker to either the proffered apples or cookies to see if the maniacally pleasant muppet would help sway the deliberating children one way or another. Although there was no significant change in the rate of cookie selection (cookies being obviously delicious with or without Elmo's seal of approval), the rate of children choosing apples doubled from 20 to 40 percent when Elmo's insistent mien was present. This means, of course, that Elmo has some strange hold over children's psyches, probably because the fuzzy Sesame Street resident is recruiting them into a new Children's Crusade against Fragglerock. (Btw, the Children's Crusade is well worth a Wikipedia work diversion.)

Elmo Shows How to Improve Kids' Diets [LiveScience]