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Temple Researchers Say Smaller Plates Cause Children To Take Less Food

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(A school lunch.  File photo by Beau Wade.)

(A school lunch. File photo by Beau Wade.)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Temple University professors has found — perhaps not surprisingly — that the size the plate used to serve children can greatly affect their eating habits.

The public health professors conducted a three-month study of childhood eating habits at a North Philadelphia school.  Children were permitted to serve themselves at lunchtime.

(Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher.  Photo provided)

(Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher. Photo provided)

“We found that when children were using larger plates, they served themselves 90 calories more than smaller plates,” says associate professor Jennifer Orlet Fisher (right), one of the researchers who is also a mom.  “And we found that they ate about half of each additional calorie served.  They consumed more at meals.”

But, she and her colleagues also observed, the kids weren’t necessarily eating more of the right kinds of foods.

“They were definitely serving themselves more of the palatable entrees and a little bit more of the fruit, but we didn’t see any influence of plate size on the amount of vegetables,” Fisher says.

And Fisher says it’s more important for parents to use feeding strategies (such as plate size) for the child who is less adventuresome with trying new foods.

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