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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Fisher, Jennifer

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2005
Publication Date: 10/20/2005
Citation: Fisher, J. 2005. Effects of age on children's intake of large and self-selected portions [abstract]. Obesity Research. 13:A36.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Whether developmental periods exist in which children become particularly sensitive to intake promoting environmental influences is unclear. This research evaluated the effects of age on children's intake of large and self-selected portions. Participants were 75 non-Hispanic white children aged 2-9 y and their mothers. Children were seen at a dinner meal in reference, large, and self-selected portion size conditions in which the size of an entrée was age-appropriate, doubled, and determined by the child, respectively. Weighed food intake data were collected. Mean entrée bite size and total bite frequency were assessed. Height and weight measurements were obtained from mother and child. Children consumed 56 + 27% of the reference portion. Effects of age on children's intake of the large portion were not significant. Entrée consumption was 29% greater and total energy intake was 13% greater in the large portion condition than in the reference condition (p<0.01). Children who ate more of the large portion increased bite size (p<0.01) and the number of bites taken (p<0.001). Alternatively, children who ate the same or less of the large portion increased bite size (p<0.05) but decreased the number of bites taken (p<0.001) in the large portion condition. Neither child nor maternal weight status predicted children's intake of large portions. Intake in the self-selected condition did not differ from that in the large portion condition. However, self-selection resulted in decreased intake for children who ate more when served the large portion (p<0.05). These findings reveal that large portions promote intake at meals in children as young as 2 years. Age-related differences in children's response to large portions are likely to be of a magnitude smaller than previously suspected. The lack of association between portion size and weight status suggests that effects on intake may be explained by the extent of exposure to large portions rather than by a susceptibility of the overweight child to overeat per se. Allowing children to determine portion size may specifically benefit children who overeat when served large portions.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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