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Study questions impact of the ‘clean plate club’

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 12-10-2008

It seems that one day the parenting advice experts are warning about obesity, while the next they are urging kids to get more vitamins and minerals. What is a father to think?

New research published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine adds more grist to the mill, exploring the way parenting skills affect children’s eating patterns.

The Cornell University study looked at 63 preschool-aged children and their families’ behavior during mealtimes.

The researchers found that kids whose parents were insistent about cleaning their plate were more likely to request larger portions when they were at daycare.

"Parents who insist children clean their plate may be asserting excess control and they could unknowingly be inhibiting the development of the child’s self-control around food," commented Dr Brian Wansink of Cornell.

He suggested that moms and dads could aim to prevent this situation by providing moderate portions and letting them decide on their own if they want a second helping.

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society revealed that three-quarters of middle schools have vending machines, many of which offer unhealthy and high-calorie options.