Having youngsters use smaller bowls
may be one way to help reduce childhood obesity, a new study suggests.
In their first experiment,
researchers gave 8- or 16-ounce bowls to 69 pre-schoolers. Adults then served
the children cereal and milk in increments until the children said they'd had
enough. Children with the larger bowls asked for 87% more cereal and milk.
How much kids weighed or whether
they were boys or girls did not affect how much food they requested.
A second experiment included 18
elementary school students who were given smaller or larger bowls. Secret
scales were embedded within the tables to weigh each child's serving and to
determine how much the children ate. Those with larger bowls asked for 69% more
cereal and milk, and ate 52% more than those with smaller bowls.
"Bigger bowls cause kids to
request nearly twice as much food, leading to increased intake as well as
higher food waste," study author Brian Ven Ittersum, a professor of behavioural
economics at Cornell University, said in a university news release.
"Based on these findings, using
smaller dishware for children may be a simple solution for caregivers who are
concerned about their kids' caloric intake," he said.
The study was published online in
the Journal of Paediatrics.
The US Office of Disease Prevention
and Health Promotion explains how to keep children at a healthy weight.