The hungrier parents are at mealtimes, a new study shows, the more they may feed their young children, which could have implications for childhood obesity.
In a small pilot study of 29 children ages 3 to 6 and their mothers, University of Florida researchers asked the mothers to rate their hunger as well as their child’s hunger prior to a meal. Among women who were overweight or obese, those who rated their own hunger higher also perceived their child’s hunger as higher, and in turn, served their child larger portions of food. The findings appeared in the June issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Because young children have difficulty recognizing when they are full, the more food they are presented at mealtime, the more they are likely to eat,” said lead investigator Sarah Stromberg, a clinical psychology doctoral student in the department of clinical and health psychology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, part of UF Health.
The study was designed to determine what factors might impact how much food parents are serving their young children.
“If we can start to identify those factors we might be able intervene to help parents develop more appropriate portion sizes for younger kids, which hopefully can lead to a longer life of healthy eating habits,” said senior author David Janicke, Ph.D., a professor of clinical and health psychology.
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