Family Matters

Smaller Dishes Could Cut Childhood Obesity

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Smaller plates, fewer calories? The latest study shows one way to fight childhood obesity may be to shrink the size of the dinner plate.

According research published in the journal Pediatrics, first-graders served themselves more and downed more calories when they used a large plate instead of a smaller one.

Simply advising parents — and kids — to eat less and exercise more hasn’t turned the childhood obesity epidemic around. And it’s obvious why: high-calorie foods are plentiful, not to mention sugary beverages that can also pack on the pounds. Portion sizes have ballooned over the past several decades. And at least one study reported that plate sizes have increased too. With one in three U.S. kids now defined as overweight or obese, researchers at Temple University decided to study how effective shrinking plate sizes could be in keeping appetites in check.

The theory made sense; previous research found that adults pile on more food and eat more calories when their bowls are bigger. Would the same hold true for children, wondered Jennifer Orlet Fisher, an associate professor of public health at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research and Education.

She and her colleagues zeroed in on two classes of first-graders at a private school in north Philadelphia. Over eight days, the 42 students helped themselves to a buffet set up by the researchers. It was self-serve, a plus for the 7-year-olds, and the menu stayed essentially the same to eliminate the possibility that kids might load up on mac and cheese but go easy on sautéed kale. Their choices: penne or chicken nuggets, applesauce and mixed veggies.

(MORE: Is Self-Help the Secret to Reducing Childhood Obesity?)

On half the days, the kids used plates that were 7 ¼ inches in diameter — about the size of a salad plate — and on the other days they were provided with dishes the size of a dinner plate at 10 ¼-inches in diameter. Their plates were weighed before and after they ate.

The kids served themselves 90 calories more on days when they used bigger dishes; they ended up consuming about half those calories and leaving the rest uneaten, which was still more than what they ate on days they used the smaller plates. “Studies show that when kids serve themselves more, they are going to eat more,” says Fisher, the study’s lead author.

Fisher doesn’t think that simply swapping a large plate for a small plate is the answer to controlling eating. But the good news is that it’s much easier to change kids’ eating habits than those of adults. Children are more likely to eat only when they feel hungry, while adults are more influenced by other factors including the cost of food and the emotions that can prompt mindless noshing. “Kids are much less complicated eaters than adults are,” says Fisher.

(MOREMore Food for Hungry Students: USDA Tweaks School Meals)

As a mom of twin 8-year-old boys, she empathizes with the struggle many parents face when confronted with scraping up a healthy meal for the family. Moms and dads don’t have time to study, interpret and implement dietary recommendations or follow nutritional guidelines, but switching to smaller plates might be something they can easily do.

“Most parents are just happy to get the food on the table,” says Fisher. “An appealing part of the findings is that they’re relatively straightforward: serve on salad plates.”

32 comments
thewholetruth
thewholetruth

1. We are all insulin resistant now due to food chemicals


2. We are insulin resistant because many get rich of food chemicals


3. Millions are living insulin resistant and do not know it, due to everyday foods


4. We have been poisoned by artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrups and other FDA food chemicals

Reverse insulin resistant and you lose the weight and diabetes without drugs 

See Here http://type2diabetesdietplan.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-can-diabetic-eat.html




punkakes13
punkakes13

effortless, just messing if ur mind

punkakes13
punkakes13

what dont we do to lose soem pounds ahuahauhauhuahuahuhauhuahuhuhahauhau its a good method

punkakes13
punkakes13

i think im gonna buy a smaller dish for me hahahaha

lighans
lighans

@jaapseidell Is minder eten wel zo belangrijk? Is meer gezond eten niet een beter idee?

SteveBrown2
SteveBrown2

the real problem is calorie dense foods.  children and adults will eat until full.  We are animals and that is what animals do.  Our western diet contains 1000 calories per pound.  Switch to a natural diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans and potatoes and you get 200-300 calories per pound.  That is what will stop the obesity epidemic, the diabetes, heart disease and elevated cancer rates we experience now.  Talking about serving sizes and smaller plates just avoids the real solution.  If we aren't smart enough to figure this out then we deserve the terrible fate that awaits.

Mary Anne D'Agata
Mary Anne D'Agata

This is nuts and a lie, by government LAW the lunch ladies have to serve an elementary student the same portions as a high school student, I once asked admin at my school, why, so we could cut down on the sheer waste of food these children threw away daily. 5 dumpsters filled per week, to the point they needed to be locked to keep wild animals out! A small child does not fill their own plates in a school lunch program, laws need to change on portions AND the institutional tasteless un nutritional glop they are fed daily to cut down on obesity. How about pulling all soda/Gatoraid machines from all schools that see this as a revenue source, stop teachers from free feeding sugar treats to control their behavior while at it, can't give an aspirin but they can feed them sugar till they bounce off the walls?

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

To echo WiseAboutWeight's commentary, this article is amounts to sheer Common Sense.  Shrink the portions, shrink the caloric intake, shrink the total residual excess weight.  Throw in exercise, and you can either 1) become toned, 2) gain muscle mas, or 3) a mix of both.

What is so hard about this?

Megan Guthrie Stearns
Megan Guthrie Stearns

Go to any sit-down restaurant with a wait staff and you'll immediately have something on the table--chips & salsa, bread, whathaveyou...followed by platters of food. Everything is out of proportion. Then we sit and chat and eat and we eat mindlessly. Before we know it, we've eaten way too much. Of course, we were all members of the Clean Plate Club when we were little, too.

David TheMan
David TheMan

Not quite, they would increase Bounty's profit margin with SPILLAGE!

Jane Meyers
Jane Meyers

Not surprising. Pretty sure the book 'Mindless Eating' discussed this for adults.

Annamaria Krisztina
Annamaria Krisztina

If the mother would cook at home,that would help.Unfortunately the most hosewifes are too lazy to cook,order the fastfood delivery ist most simplier.They children s health while they ruin is most times not aware.Only if its late

Dnd Customs
Dnd Customs

did that nutbar just call bettmen a fairy? am i on this planet?

WiseAboutWeight
WiseAboutWeight

This is a great common sense approach.  

Today's dinner plates are much larger than the plates used 20 or 30 years ago. I have a friend who bought an older home and she had to go to a flea market to find plates small enough to fit in the cabinets!

Think about it...generally when you go to a buffet, the larger the plate, the more amount of food you pile on.  A good recommendation is to use a salad plate at a buffet which will force yo to get up to get more. Chances are you will think a little longer about if you really want more. 

Often, the answers toward solving a problem are in front of us but we are not aware and consequently cannot see them.  Eating healthy is not rocket science but it does take knowledge, understanding, support, and awareness.

Robin Kushner, Owner and President of Wise-About-Weight

https://www.facebook.com/WiseAboutWeight

http://robinkushner.wordpress.com/

http://robinkushner.brandyourself.com/

Rajiv_Narayan
Rajiv_Narayan

@MissChristine90 Eating the traditional Indian way with one's right-hand did not bode well for my own efforts at self-control...

jaapseidell
jaapseidell

@lighans natuurlijk is gezond eten belangrijk. Maar veel kinderen eten ook te veel.