Veggies sold with with names like “x-ray vision carrots,” “power punch broccoli,” and “silly dilly green beans,” can entice kids to eat well. When a group at Cornell University re-branded veggies with pizazz-sounding names, sales among elementary school children went up by 99 percent. Whereas veggie vending at a control school dropped by 16 percent.

When carrots received the star-power treatment in another study, elementary school students ate more of the orange roots, the Cornell scientists found. Carrots were presented to the kids on three consecutive days but with three different labels. Sixty-six percent of the “X-ray vision carrots” were consumed, compared to 32 percent when they were labeled “food of the day” and 35 percent when left anonymous.

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Improving produce’s public image may be vital to America’s future. A recent report projected that by 2020, more than half of Americans may be obese, reported ABC News.

“Obesity is on the causal pathway to every major chronic disease that plagues our society — heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, arthritis,” David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told ABC News. “So it is best thought of as the canary in the coal mine of chronic diseases. As goes obesity, so goes health.”

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“What concerns me most is that obesity in children is causing what used to be exclusively adult-onset chronic diseases there as well,” Katz said. “There is no telling where this process will end.”

The Cornell studies suggest that slowing the collective ballooning of America’s bottoms may be helped by a bit of produce aisle public relations.

IMAGE: Carrots in a produce aisle (Kander, Wikimedia Commons)