Snacks served in large portions increased the amount consumed with a potential correlation to obesity in preschool-aged children, according to a recent study from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. An article on the study appears in the March issue of Food Nutrition & Science.
"What makes this current study significant is that it looks at snacks specifically," says Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com. "Since young children consume a large amount of energy from snacks, it's important to look at the relationship that snack portion size and energy density has on energy intake in this age group. With childhood obesity on the rise, parents and educators need to be thoughtful about the types of snacks they provide."
"Portion size is an environmental cue," says Shannon Looney, MPH, RD, doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. "The cue triggers the behavior of eating. A larger cue most likely triggers a larger response. Eating continues because the food is there."
This is one of the first studies conducted on children with snacks. Previous studies have reviewed entrees, but found energy intake to be substantially affected by energy density, not portion size.
Source: Food Nutrition & Science