Heavy Moms Likelier to Pile Food on Kids’ Plates

Obese and overweight moms seem to serve their kids more food at meals, potentially boosting their risk for childhood obesity.

University of Florida researchers asked mothers to describe their level of hunger and that of their 3- to 6-year-olds before meals. Twenty-nine children took part in the study.

Women who were overweight or obese reported feeling hungrier and thought their kids were hungrier, too. Then, they gave them bigger portions.

“Because young children have difficulty recognizing when they are full, the more food they are presented at mealtime, the more they are likely to eat,” lead investigator Sarah Stromberg said in a university news release. Stromberg is a doctoral student in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology.

Study senior author David Janicke, a professor of clinical and health psychology, said, “If we can start to identify those factors, we might be able to intervene to help parents develop more appropriate portion sizes for younger kids, which hopefully can lead to a longer life of healthy eating habits.”

The researchers noted that the findings are preliminary, because the study was small.

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