The struggle for parents to get their children to eat their fruits and veggies may soon come to an end with the help of their children's favorite cartoon characters.

Researchers demonstrated that elementary school children, when healthier snacks were offered, were more likely to consume those snacks if it was branded with an Elmo sticker.

After obtaining parental consent, researchers from Cornel University observed 208 children from seven different schools in New York. The study was conducted during lunch time for five consecutive days. After selecting their lunch, children were offered two items: a cookie or an apple. During the first day of the study, the cookies and apples were offered without a sticker. During the next three days researchers put a sticker of Elmo on either the cookie or the apple.

Without the sticker, 91 percent of children selected the cookie and only nearly one-quarter of children chose the apple. When the Elmo sticker was added as a marketing tool, 37 percent of children selected the apple. Results demonstrated with the help of the Elmo sticker, children doubled their apple choice. The Elmo sticker had no effect on the children's selection of the cookie.

According to Christina Roberto, who studies food choices at the Harvard School of Public Health, there should be more characters used for marketing fruits and vegetables, rather than the foods that are unhealthy.

While some health experts completely stress the end of branding of children foods, others believe companies that produce healthier children foods should implement the same branding strategy.

"If we're trying to promote healthier foods, we need to be as smart as the companies that are selling the less-healthy foods," David Just, co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, told Reuters.

This study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.