Use Smaller Bowls to Help Curb Obesity

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A new Cornell University study published in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that children not only ask for more food to fill larger bowls — they also eat more. Researchers randomly served 8-ounce or 16-ounce bowls to 69 preschoolers and found that the children with larger bowls requested 87 percent more cereal and milk, regardless of their age, gender or body mass index.

Researchers also worked with 18 elementary-aged students and used secret scales embedded within dining tables to weigh each cereal portion before and after the children ate to measure how much cereal they consumed. Children with larger bowls requested 69 percent more cereal and milk, and ate 52 percent more.

“The quickest way parents can help kids eat less might be to grab them a smaller bowl,” says Brian Wansink, professor of behavioral economics and the lead author. “Make it 12 ounces rather than the 20 ounces we use.”

Katherine Kopp is a freelance writer and editor in Chapel Hill.

Categories: Early Education, Family Health, Fit Family Challenge, Health, Health and Development, Nutrition, Preschool Health & Wellness, Preschoolers