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Using Larger Plates May Cause Children to Serve Themselves More

4/8/2013 For Release: April 8, 2013

Americans use larger dishware than they did in past decades. Studies have shown that children eat more when served more, but will using larger plates and bowls result in children serving themselves more and therefore consuming more food? In the study, “Plate Size and Children’s Appetite: Effects of Larger Dishware on Self-Served Portions and Intake,” in the May 2013 Pediatrics (published online April 8), researchers found that first-grade students did serve themselves more and consumed almost 50 percent of the calories they served when using larger dishware, leading to greater energy intake at the meal. Study authors also noted that children served themselves more fruit, but did not serve themselves more vegetables when using larger dishes. Even though the majority of children served themselves larger portions with adult-size dishes, child BMI, age, gender or weight did not play a significant role in the study results. Authors conclude that encouraging parents to use smaller dishware at home can be an effective strategy in controlling age-appropriate portion size and intake during meals.


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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.


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