As all of us know, America has a major problem with childhood obesity. A third of US kids are overweight, and nearly one in five is obese.
These kids are at high risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all the other obesity-related health problems. In fact, this is the first generation that may actually die before their parents.
In addition, many of these children will experience social and emotional challenges because of their weight.
Dr. Claire McCarthy writes the “MD Mama” blog, and she reports on a new study that offers one possible solution to the problem—give kids smaller plates!
Researchers gave adult-sized and kid-sized plates to first graders at an elementary school in Philadelphia, and let them serve themselves lunch. Guess what happened? The kids with bigger plates served themselves more--and ate more.
Dr. McCarthy says the study has somewhat of a “duh” feel to it, but at the same time, it’s brilliant. If we want kids to eat kid-sized portions, then we perhaps we should give them kid-sized plates. She points out that while this won’t cure childhood obesity, but it's a clear, easy step in the right direction.
Here’s another step you can take—make your kids’ plate look like the plate at choosemyplate.gov: half fruits and vegetables, a quarter whole grains, and a quarter protein (like meat, fish or eggs). Those are the proportions that make up the healthiest diet.
And by the way, contrary to what our parents told us, don't make your kids finish everything on their plates. It’s better to let them listen to their own hunger cues, and stop eating when they are full. Just make sure they eat at least some of the fruits or vegetables on the plate.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.