Interventions should not solely invest in reducing dishware size in the expectation that this will lead to reduced intake of snack foods.
Interventions should not solely invest in reducing dishware size in the expectation that this will lead to reduced intake of snack foods.

Subtle changes in quantity of food may reduce snack consumption in children

ANI | Updated: Jul 20, 2019 21:01 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], July 20 (ANI): Offering children a wide variety and large quantities of snack food encourage them to eat more and may contribute to weight problems.
According to recent findings, focusing less on plate size and more on reducing quantity and variety of food is the key to getting children to snack less.
The team of researchers have also found that how snacks are presented has little influence on how much children snack.
According to the team of researchers, their study found children weren't greatly affected by the container size, with food consumption mainly driven by the quantity or variety of snacks on offer.
"There has been a popular push by nutritionists and public health officials towards replacing large dishware with smaller versions to nudge people towards healthier decisions. But we have found dishware size has very little effect on the amount of food consumed," said Jessica Kerr, lead researcher of the study.
Researchers suggested that children and adults should only consume energy-dense snacks occasionally, and they do not need to be part of daily energy intake.
The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.
For the study, participants ate during a 15-minute snack break between 20 other health assessments at the Child Health CheckPoint, which looked at the health of 1800 children, aged 11-12 years, and their parents across a variety of factors from physical activity to sleep.
The children and parents were given a snack box containing non-perishable items such as crackers, cheese, a muesli bar, biscuits, a tub of peaches and chocolate.
The quantity/number and variety of snack food items and the container sizes that the food was presented in varied. Children and parents ate separately and at different times.
Researchers recorded how much food each child and parent left in the box uneaten, and calculated the total grams and kilojoules consumed.
"Children who were offered more snack items consumed considerably more energy and a slightly higher food mass. Manipulating box/container size had little effect on consumption," researchers asserted.
Although there is sometimes a place for snack items to bridge the gap between main meals, our results reinforce calls to educate parents and schools about appropriate snack items and amounts of food to offer children.
The research indicates that more attention and resources should be directed to toward offering children smaller amounts of food and, specifically, fewer and less variety of energy-dense foods and pre-packaged items. Interventions should not solely invest in reducing dishware size in the expectation that this will lead to reduced intake of snack foods. (ANI)

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