Contrary to what many people believe, preschool children do not adjust how much they eat in response to how much they ate at their last meal or in the past 24 hours or how calorie-rich their meal is. By far, the most powerful predictor for how much children eat is how much food is put on their plate, concludes a new study by Cornell University researchers.
"We examined all the predictors we could of how much a child eats at a meal," said David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology at Cornell. "We found that portion size is, by far, the most important factor in predicting how much a child will eat. These findings suggest that both the onus of controlling childrens weight -- both in causing overweight in children as well as in its prevention -- must rest squarely in the hands of parents and other caregivers."
Levitsky and Gordana Mrdjenovic, Cornell Ph.D. 00, monitored the food intake of 16 preschool children, ages 4-6, for five to seven consecutive days in day-care centers, and parents kept a food diary of what their children ate in the evenings and weekends.
Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | EurekAlert!
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