Large portions make fatter kids
RESEARCH has shown that although overweight children consume larger meals, they do not eat more frequently than children of a healthy weight.
Although it has been heavily debated whether extra weight gain is due to eating larger meals and/or eating too often, the subject has so far been largely under-researched in young children.
A recent study from the UK Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children looked at the eating habits of 2,564 very young children aged four to 18 months old – as reported by parents – to study an association between meal size and meal frequency, and the child’s weight.
The data showed that overweight children ate larger meals than the healthy weight children, consuming 141 calories versus 130 calories at each meal time.
However, they did not eat more frequently than healthy weight children throughout the course of the day.
The researchers also found that for every extra 24 calories that the children consumed during each meal there was a 9% increased risk of overweight/ obesity.
The overweight children also appeared to consume these extra calories by eating larger portions of the same types of foods – 160g versus 146g – as there was no difference in the energy density of the meals (kJ/ gram) consumed between overweight and healthy weight children.
The results led the authors to conclude that it was eating larger portions, rather than eating more frequently, which led to an increased risk of the children becoming overweight early in life. – AFPRelaxnews