June 28 (HealthDay News) - The amount of food you put on your young
child's plate is the main factor influencing how much he or she will eat,
according to a Cornell University study.
This finding contradicts the common belief that young children adjust
how much they eat at a meal according to how much they ate at their last
meal or within the previous 24 hours, or how calorie-rich their meal is,
the researchers said.
"We examined all the predictors we could of how much a child eats at a
meal," David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional sciences and psychology,
said in a prepared statement. "We found that portion size is, by far, the
most important factor in predicting how much a child will eat. These
findings suggest that the onus of controlling children's weight - both in
causing overweight in children as well as in its prevention - must rest
squarely in the hands of parents and other caregivers."
For this study, Levitsky and a colleague tracked the food intake of 16
preschool children, aged 4 to 6, for five to seven consecutive days.
"We found that the more food children are served, the more they eat,
regardless of what they've eaten previously in the day, including how big
their breakfast was. We also found that the more snacks children are offered,
the greater their total daily food and calorie intake," Levitsky said.