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Are You Encouraging Your Child To Over-Eat?    

I've heard this saying time after time again, finish everything off your plate!

Even though wasting food isn't good for many obvious reasons, telling your child to eat everything can be worse than you think.

New research suggests that telling your child to finish everything on their plate could be fueling obesity. 

Portion sizes have been constantly increasing over the years, and pressuring a child to finish their plate means they won't learn when to stop.

"In the 1950s, cleaning your plate meant something different," says Katie Loth, a dietician at the University of Minnestoa.

"Portion sizes have got bigger over time and if you encourage kids to rely on environmental indicators, like how much food is on their plates or the time of day, they'll lose the ability to rely on internal cues to know whether they're hungry or full."

Loth collected data from about 2,200 teenagers and 3,500 parents.

She found that fathers were more likely to pressure their children into eating all their food than mothers were.

She also discovered that teenage boys were more likely to be put under pressure than teenage girls.

Dr. Michael Hobaugh, chief of medical staff at La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago, believes that by telling children to finish their plate, this is contributing to childhood obesity.

"There's now so much obesity in the United States that when we see a child who is normal weight, inevitably, a parent will think the child is too skinny," says Hobaugh.

The key thing to remember is no two children are the same. Some will get full faster than others, and even though it is wasteful, it's letting them realize how much they can eat.

By simply taking the food away when they say they are finishes, you won't be encouraging over-eating.

Posted by Natalie Lavoy-Furtado
2013-04-24, 16:07:25

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