Your Child

Kids Not Sleeping Well? Could Be the Electronics in the Bedroom!

1:45

If you’re concerned that your child is not getting enough sleep, here’s one way to help him or her rest better and longer. Remove the television and other small electronics from your child’s bedroom.

According to a new study, children who sleep with televisions or other small-screened devices – such as smartphones and tablets – in their bedrooms, spend less time sleeping than children without those devices in their rooms.

“While more studies are needed to confirm our results, we know that too much screen time is bad for children’s health in multiple ways,” said Jennifer Falbe, the study’s lead author from the University of California, Berkley.

Other studies have linked having a televisions in a child’s bedroom to poorer sleep, but there hasn’t been much research into the impact of smaller electronic devices in children’s bedrooms and sleep.

For the new study, Falbe and colleagues used data from 2,048 fourth- and seventh-graders enrolled in an obesity study in Massachusetts. Researchers found that kids with TVs in their rooms slept about 18 minutes less than kids without TVs in their rooms.  When they looked at the effect of sleeping next to small screens, the time spent not sleeping increased to 21 minutes. Less sleep is often tied to other issues including obesity and academic performance.

The children that slept next to small screens also reported feeling as if they didn’t get enough sleep during the night.

Not surprisingly, researchers noted that watching TV and playing video games before bedtime, including those on a computer, was also linked to less sleep.

There are a number of reasons why televisions and small-screened electronics may result in worse sleep, such as the bright light of screens before bed, sounds and alerts and more sedentary activity to name a few

“Parents can keep screen media out of the child’s bedroom, limit total screen time and set a screen time curfew,” Falbe said.

A recent study revealed that reading e-readers, instead of paper books, before bed can actually make you more alert than sleepy. The electronic light appears to shift the body’s circadian rhythms delaying the production of the hormone melatonin.

So it’s no surprise that television, computer, tablet or smartphone light could do the same thing. Watching TV or participating on smaller screen activity also stimulates the brain instead of sending the signal to relax and fall to sleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under two avoid screens altogether and that parents establish a “screen-free” zone in the home. Results from this study strongly suggest that one of the screen-free zones be in your child’s bedroom.

Source: Andrew M. Seaman, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/05/us-electronics-pediatrics-sleep-idUSKBN0KE1SI20150105

Your Child

How Much Pizza is Too Much?

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Just about everyone loves pizza. These days, there are enough specialty toppings to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. So, it’s understandable that people don’t like to hear or read anything negative about America’s favorite fast food.

 But… and where pizza is concerned, there is always a but… kids that consume too much pizza – notice I said too much not any- are not only more likely to pack on the extra pounds, but consume more fat and sodium than is recommended for healthy diets.

Researchers behind a new study from the Health Policy Center at the Institute of Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), examined dietary recall data from children and adolescents aged 2-19 who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2010.

During those years, children between the ages of 2 and 11 took in fewer calories from pizza by 25 percent. Among teenagers, who actually ate more pizza than the younger group, there was also a decline in intake calories from pizza.  Good news so far.

However, looking at the calorie intake from pizza during 2009 to 2010, pizza made up 22% of the total calorie intake among children and 26% of adolescents' calorie intake on the days when it was eaten.

The younger children took in an additional 84 calories, 3 g of saturated fat and 134 mg of sodium on days that they ate pizza, compared with pizza-free days.

For adolescents the count was substantially higher. Pizza days meant an extra 230 calories, 5 g of saturated fat and 484 mg of sodium - 24% and 21% of their recommended daily intake. Not so good news.

Pizza as a snack between meals had the biggest impact on the children’s diet. Children took in an extra 202 calories and teens an extra 365 calories in addition to their regular meals. Ouch.

It’s really no surprise that kids (and adults) rarely eat less of other foods during pizza snack days to compensate for the extra calories, fat and sodium – we just usually don’t.

Researchers also noted that calorie intake from school cafeterias was about the same on pizza days as it was on non-pizza days. They believe the reason for that is that most school cafeteria food is similarly high in calories. In 2015, that may be changing with new school food policies. Let’s hope so anyway.

Pizza in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad food choice-depending on where it comes from. Homemade pizza can be lower in calories, fat and sodium. You get to decide what kind of crust is used and can substitute lower fat and sodium ingredients to build your own healthier meal. Plus, it taste good!

Because of its huge influence on the diet of American youths, the authors suggest that pizza should be specifically addressed as part of nutritional counseling.

"Curbing pizza consumption alone isn't enough to significantly reduce the adverse dietary effects of pizza. It's a very common and convenient food, so improving the nutritional content of pizza, in addition to reducing the amount of pizza eaten, could help lessen its negative nutritional impact." Said lead author Lisa Powell, who is professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health.

Typical fast-food pizza is packed with sodium, fat and calories. This study simply points out that it’s easy to overload on it because it’s convenient and not very expensive. But, it can have a devastating affect on kid’s health when not eaten sensibly. The extra fat, salt and calories add up to more weight, higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and diabetes. Not anything you really want for your kids or yourself.

The study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: David McNamee, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288252.php

Your Child

Are Kid’s Sack Lunches Healthier?

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For some kids who bring their lunch to school, a new study suggests that as far as nutrition goes, they’d be better off buying their meal at the school cafeteria.

Researchers found that student’s bag lunches typically contained foods that were higher in sodium and sugar with fewer vegetables and whole grains compared with standards set for school cafeterias.

The findings are not necessarily surprising, said the study's senior researcher, Karen Cullen, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"Parents often pack lunches based on their children's preferences," she noted. Plus, she added, some other recent studies have found a similar pattern.

The study involved 12 elementary and middle schools in one Houston-area school district. Over two months, the researchers observed more than 300 students who brought their lunch from home -- noting what they ate and what they threw away.

On average, bag lunches were low on fruits and whole grains, and especially vegetables and milk.

School guidelines say kids should have three-quarters of a cup of vegetables (which really isn’t much) with every lunch. The average elementary school bag lunch had about one-tenth of that amount, according to the study.

Lunches brought from home also contained way too much sodium. The average bag lunch averaged 1,000 to 1,110 mg, versus a limit of 640 mg in elementary school lunches.

About 90 percent of the home lunches contained a dessert, sugary drink or snack chip. Guess what? Kids ate those items whereas between 20 and 30 percent of vegetables ended up in the garbage, according to the study.

Packing milk and palatable vegetables is tricky, noted Dr. Virginia Stallings, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who specializes in nutrition.

Giving your kids money to buy it at school can help solve the milk dilemma, said Stallings, who wrote an editorial published with the study. With vegetables, though, it can be challenging to go beyond carrot sticks, she added.

"I think that's one of the advantages of the school lunch," Stallings said. "Kids can have a hot meal, with cooked vegetables." She added that schools are working on making meals that are tasty without relying on salt, and expanding to include culturally diverse choices.

I don’t really think that kid’s attitudes have changed much about school lunches in the last few decades. As long as I can remember, kids eat what they want, trade foods with others and throw out the rest. They often gripe about their lunch food whether it comes from home or the school cafeteria.. That’s just what kids do.

So, if they are going to complain anyway you might as well fix them a lunch that will help them develop strong bones and hearts. The school systems have finally started paying attention to nutrition after all these years. They’re working on creative recipes that just might temp kids to eat better.

You already know that there are way too many American children that are eating poorly, not exercising and developing diabetes at a young age. It’s important what our children eat. Sometimes a school lunch is best and sometimes a lunch brought from home is best. Many times parents split the difference and do both.

Source: Amy Norton, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/education-news-745/kids-bag-lunches-not-meeting-nutrition-guidelines-694048.html

Your Child

Music Improves Kids' Memory and Reading Skills

2.00 to read

Maybe Plato was right when he noted that music “…gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

A new study suggests that children who practice singing or learn an instrument are also more likely to improve in language and reading skills.

Previous research has shown a positive link between music and learning skills, but was mainly conducted on children in upper or middle class families. This new study looks at whether the same results apply to children living in impoverished and low socioeconomic neighborhoods. The present study included students from musical training programs in Chicago and Los Angeles public schools.

The findings support the idea that musical training can help any child not only benefit from the joy and discipline of musical training, but also the stimulation that the mind acquires through music.  This could prove particularly helpful to children living in difficult circumstances.

"Research has shown that there are differences in the brains of children raised in impoverished environments that affect their ability to learn," said Nina Kraus, PhD, a neurobiologist at the Northwestern University. "While more affluent students do better in school than children from lower income backgrounds, we are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner and help offset this academic gap."

How does music help a child learn better? According to researchers, musical training improves the brain's ability to process sounds. Children who learn music are better equipped to understand sounds in a noisy background. Improvements in neural networks also strengthen memory and learning skills.

For the study, scientists used two groups of children. One group was given music classes, while the other received Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps classes. Each group had comparable IQs at the beginning of the study.

The researchers recorded children's brain waves as they listened to repeated syllable against a soft background sound. The children were tested again after one year of music training/JROTC classes and again after a two-year study period. The team found that children's neural responses were strengthened after two years of music classes. The study shows that music training isn't a quick fix, but is a long-term approach to improve academic performance of children belonging to lower socioeconomic classes.

"We're spending millions of dollars on drugs to help kids focus and here we have a non-pharmacologic intervention that thousands of disadvantaged kids devote themselves to in their non-school hours-that works," Margaret Martin, founder of Harmony Project in Los Angeles, said in a news release. "Learning to make music appears to remodel our kids' brains in ways that facilitates and improves their ability to learn."

In other studies, music has also been shown to be effective in promoting better social behavior in teenage boys who have learning difficulties and poor social skills.

Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, many school districts have either cut back or completely eliminated music and arts programs. The loss of such a treasure in our school systems is tragic. Music not only “hath charms to soothe a savages beast,” but also to refresh and calm an anxious mind. It’s time we rethink the importance of music and the other arts programs in our schools. Fund them and bring them back – for all of our children’s sake.

The study was presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

Source: Staff Reporter, http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8472/20140809/music-training-improves-memory-reading-skills-children.htm

Your Child

Exaggerated Praise May Backfire!

2.00 to read

In the last couple of decades, self-esteem has been a hot topic when it comes to kids. Entire school programs have been changed in order to boost student’s self-esteem. Trophies are given to children, not for actually excelling in a task, but for simply showing up, so that kid’s self-esteem won’t be damaged by having to endure a loss.  Children are constantly being told “good job” as well as receiving an enormous amount of praise for doing nothing more than being a typical kid.

There’s a lot of debate at the PTA and on the sports field over what “self-esteem” actually means. Self-esteem is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as (1) A confidence and satisfaction in oneself, (2) An exaggerated opinion of one’s own abilities. 

A new study says that parents of children with low self-esteem may want to pull back on the inflated praise because all the ego stroking may be doing more harm than good. Researchers found that children who have low self-esteem may actually achieve less when they receive too much praise.  The team said that children with high self-esteem who are constantly lauded thrive, but those with lower self-esteem tend to run away from new challenges.

“Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most – kids with low self-esteem,” said Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the study that was published in the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers said that inflated praise was characterized as containing an additional descriptive adjective. An example might be a parent telling their child “You’re incredibly perfect at that task!” Phrases like “You are good at this” were considered simple praise, but parents who said, “You’re incredibly good at this” were placed in the inflated praise category.

The study included 114 parents, 88 percent of whom were mothers. The parents participated in the study with their child, and before the study began the researchers used a test to determine the child’s self-esteem.

Parents administered 12 math exercises to their child for the study, and afterwards they scored how well their child did on the tests. The sessions were videotaped, and the researchers used these recordings to count how many times the parents praised their child.

Researchers found that parents of children in the low self-esteem group gave their children twice as much inflated praise than parents of the high self-esteem children.

The most common embellished praise statements included “You answered very fast!” and “Super good!” and “Fantastic!” The most common non-inflated praise statements were “You’re good at this” and “Well done!”

The team noted that parents praised their child an average of about 6 times during the session, and about 25 percent of that praise was inflated. 

“Parents seemed to think that the children with low self-esteem needed to get extra praise to make them feel better,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State. “It’s understandable why adults would do that, but we found in another experiment that this inflated praise can backfire in these children.”

So far it sounds like parents were just eager to assure their child that they were more than capable of handling the tasks. It’s something that many parents do almost out of habit. So, does all that extra praise really help?

In another experiment, 240 children were asked to draw a famous Vincent van Gogh painting and then received praise in the form of a note from someone identified as a professional painter. After the child received the note they were told to draw copies of other pictures that they could choose from. The children were given the option to either choose from pictures that were easy to do, or they could choose to draw more difficult pictures.

The team found after the second experiment that children with low self-esteem were more likely to choose the easier pictures if they received inflated praise in the note. Children with higher self-esteem were more likely to choose the more difficult pictures if they received inflated praise. Brummelman said children with low self-esteem may have gone for the easier challenge because they worry about meeting those high standards and decided not to take on any new challenges.

The lesson may be that children with low self-esteem need praise (like all of us), but require more realistic and simple praise.  They may feel like the inflated praise puts too high an expectation on them, while the simpler praise feels more authentic.

“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said. “But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.”

Source: Lee Rannals,  http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113038014/inflated-praise-not-beneficial-for-all-kids-010214/#pdGaJuceet6Y0ywu.99

Your Child

New Guidelines for Treating Sinus Infections

1.45 to read

Kids get runny noses. But is it caused by allergies, a simple cold or something more serious like a sinus infection? If your child has a history of sinus infections, a new review of clinical guidelines may be just what the doctor ordered.

A recent review of the research looked at the most current studies related to acute bacterial sinusitis in children.

The review offers physicians new guidelines for treating sinusitis in children. In the new guidelines, doctors may wait up to three days before beginning treatment with antibiotics and are discouraged from giving children x-rays.

The study, written by Michael J. Smith, MD, from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, reviewed the most recently published research available for treating bacterial sinusitis in children.

Smith’s research led to several changes in guidelines for treatment.

Children can contract viral sinusitis or bacterial sinusitis. Viral sinusitis usually develops when a child has a cold or allergies.  Bacterial sinusitis tends to make a child feel sicker than viral sinusitis. A child with bacterial sinusitis usually will have more facial pain and swelling than someone with viral sinusitis, and might also develop a fever. Acute bacterial sinusitis is usually diagnosed when a child with an upper respiratory infection improves then spirals downward with worsening symptoms.  Five to ten percent of children with an upper respiratory infection develop acute bacterial sinusitis.

Dr. Smith looked for all randomized, controlled trials that had been published since 2001, when the last guidelines were published.

He located 17 studies that related specifically to treating acute bacterial sinusitis in children.

The current recommended treatment in the new guidelines is prescribing the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Doctors should prescribe this antibiotic if a child comes in with very severe symptoms of sinusitis (a runny nose with non-clear mucus and a fever over 102º Fahrenheit for at least three days).

If a child has a runny nose, cough and minor fever for more than 10 days, doctors can treat the child right away or, with the parents' input, wait up to three days to prescribe antibiotics, according to the new clinical guidelines.

The new guidelines that came from this systematic review recommend that doctors do not give children x-rays.

The new guidelines also suggest that children who get better at first and then have worse symptoms (acute bacterial sinusitis) should be treated right away.

The review and guidelines were published in the June journal of Pediatrics.

The signs and symptoms of bacterial sinusitis are:

- A stuffy or runny nose with a daytime cough that lasts for 10 to 14 days or longer without improvement

- Continuous thick green mucus discharge from the nose (sometimes with post nasal drip).

- Persistent dull pain or swelling around the eyes.

- Tenderness or pain in or around the cheekbones.

- A feeling of pressure in your head.

- A headache when you wake up in the morning or when bending over.

- Bad breath even after brushing your teeth.

- Pain in the upper teeth.

- A fever greater than 102°F (39°C).

Some of the symptoms listed above are the same as viral sinusitis, so it’s really best to take your child to his or her pediatrician or family doctor for a correct diagnosis.

Sources: Dominique Brooks, http://www.dailyrx.com/bacterial-sinusitis-treatments-children-are-updated-more-current-research

http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/common/sinusitis.html#

Your Child

Caregiving Tasks Are Too Much for Young Children

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It’s not uncommon for children of aging parents to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving. Studies have shown that the “sandwich generation” – adults trying to raise a family while caring for their parents – is just about stretched to their limits dealing with stress and economic struggles.

While adults may be having a hard time figuring out how to juggle all the demands on their time and resources, a new study looks at the impact on children who have had to take on a similar role as a caregiver.

An astounding 1.3 million American children and teens are caring for family members with physical or mental illness or substance abuse problems, and these children are at risk for poor health and school failure themselves according to the study.

This "hidden population" of young caregivers suffers physical and emotional stress due to their caregiving duties, wrote study author Dr. Julia Belkowitz, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

For this study, Belkowitz and her team studied youth caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Interestingly, the group of children mirrored the adult population of caregivers, with more females carrying the load than males. The average age was 12 years old, with 63 percent being girls and 37 percent boys.

When surveyed, the children reported that they spent an average of two hours each school day and four hours each weekend day doing caregiver tasks at home. Their family members said the children spent less than that amount of time caregiving. They estimated the children spent 1.5 hours a day on weekdays and 2.75 hours a day on weekends doing caregiver tasks.

The children’s tasks included helping family members with getting around, eating, dressing, bathing, using the toilet, and continence care. The youth caregivers also kept the family members company and offered emotional support, gave medications, translated during medical visits, handled medical equipment at home, cleaned the house and did grocery shopping.

"This study is an important step toward raising awareness about the issue of caregiving youth," Belkowitz said.

She and her colleagues worked on the study with the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY).

"Today in the U.S., there are many more than the 1.3 million children identified in 2005 who face the challenges of juggling adult-sized responsibilities of caring for ill, injured, aging or disabled family members while trying to keep up at school," Connie Siskowski, founder and president of AACY, said in the news release.

For many families, asking young children to help with caregiving may seem like the only option. This is particularly true for single parent families with no relatives nearby or two parent families that each have demanding or time consuming jobs. However, young caregivers pay a high price when asked to take over adult responsibilities. They may take extra time off from school, feel tired or overly stressed and not take the time to be with friends in an environment where they can just be kids or teens.

Parents needing caregiver help should look to other resources for assistance. While a parent might be reluctant to ask for help – fearing that certain services might try to interfere - it might be the only way to make life easier for you and your family.

The website www.aacy.org offers this advice: “If you want advice that is guaranteed to be private, use an anonymous telephone helpline or search for advice on the internet. Remember, most services and organizations that help people will only consider breaking confidentiality if they think it is the only way to keep someone safe. The Data Protection Act says that they must keep your personal information private unless you give them permission to share it or there is a very good reason for sharing it, such as keeping someone safe from harm.

If you have a disability, illness or substance misuse problem, you may be able to get an assessment of your needs from a social worker. An assessment is not a test of whether you are a good parent or not, it is a way of finding out what you and your family need to stay well. During an assessment, a social worker or sometimes a health worker will talk to you in private about your health problem and what help you need.”

This study was presented recently at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/caregiving-news-728/young-caregivers-at-risk-for-failing-in-school-study-shows-692430.html

http://www.aacy.org

Your Child

It’s Official; CDC Says Flu is Epidemic

2:00

The flu has reached epidemic levels in the United States, with 15 children dead so far this season, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at the end of December 2014.

Every year, the U.S. reaches a point where the number of flu cases enters the epidemic stage.  There’s no way to tell right now if this year’s flu season will end up being more or less severe than previous ones. Those statistics won’t be available till later in the year.

No state will be spared this season with more flu cases and deaths’ increasing in the next few weeks says Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in CDC's influenza division. "We are in the middle of flu season," Jhung said. "It's a safe bet that we are going to see flu activity continue to increase for a few more weeks. We are going to see every state in the country affected by flu."

The number of children’s deaths from flu changes every year. The latest victim may be a 17 year-old-girl in Minnesota. She was diagnosed with the flu and sent home to recover. Shanna Zwanziger had the flu for about a week before she died says her family. Her mother said Shanna was given the choice of whether to get the vaccine or not, and she chose not to.

The South, Midwest and Western states have been especially hard hit this flu season. At least six children have died in Tennessee and four in Minnesota, according to published reports.

The predominant flu strain this season is the H3N2 virus, the CDC says. This virus is not well matched to this year's flu vaccine, but what part this mismatch is playing in flu deaths isn't known, Jhung said.

The CDC acknowledges that that this year’s flu vaccine is not a good match for the most dominant strain of the virus. That’s because there’s not just one type of flu and the virus can mutate. This year’s vaccine was created before one of the viruses mutated. However, experts say that getting this year’s vaccine can still help protect you and can help make symptoms less severe if you get the flu.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. It's not too late to get vaccinated, Jhung said. More than one type of flu is circulating, and the vaccine protects against at least three strains of circulating virus, he added.

"If you encounter one of those viruses where there is a very good match, then you will be well-protected," he said. "Even if there isn't a great match, the vaccine still provides protection against the virus that's circulating."

Many people get the flu and recover at home. They spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks feeling very bad and then start to feel better. But others face life-threatening complications – such as pneumonia- according to the CDC.

Jhung says parents should always take the flu seriously, and get medical help if their child is very sick.

Warning signs might include a cough that disrupts sleep, a fever that doesn't come down with treatment, or increased shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are treatments for the flu such as Tamiflu and Relenza. "Those work best when they are given very quickly. So if you do have signs and symptoms of flu, reach out to a health care provider and get evaluated," Jhung said.

The flu season moves into its later stage in January and February, with different flu types taking the lead. It’s not too late to get your family the flu shot. They are still available at physician’s offices as well as at many pharmacies and health care centers.

Sources: Steven Reinberg, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/flu-now-epidemic-in-u-s-with-15-child-deaths-reported-695066.html

Liz Neporent, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/years-subpar-flu-shot-save-life/story?id=27898830

Your Child

Smaller Plates, Fewer Calories?

1.45 to read

The bigger the plate, the more food kids will pile on it. That, in a nutshell, is what a new study says. More food can also mean more calories, fat and sodium.

Just like adults, when given a larger plate, children tend to add more food to fill the space. Give them a smaller plate and they’ll fill the space too, but it won’t have as much food, particularly if kids get to choose which foods they want t eat.

"We found that children served themselves about 90 more calories when they used the large plate at lunch [compared to a small plate]," said Katherine DiSantis, assistant professor of community and global public health at Arcadia University in Glenside, Penn.

However, the scientists noted that many of the children didn’t eat all the food on the larger plate.

The researchers invited the 41 first graders from two different classrooms at a private elementary school to eat lunch, using a small child's plate first and then an adult-sized one. The children had their choice of an entree and side dishes (pasta with meat sauce, chicken nuggets, mixed vegetables and applesauce). They all got fixed portions of milk and bread with each meal.

The researchers weighed the portions before and after the children ate and calculated their caloric intake.

Other research has found that children eat more food when they are served larger portions. But it was not known, DiSantis said, whether the use of larger, adult-sized plates would make kids take and eat more food if they served themselves.

The two factors -plate size and personal food choice – seemed to work well together.  The plate size itself, didn’t promote overeating. Also, a child’s BMI didn’t seem to predict who would put more food on their plate.

The study results showed, DiSantis said, "that children look to their environment for some direction when put in the position of making decisions about how much food to serve themselves."

Using smaller plates may help children learn how to make better portion choices and learning portion control early can benefit them in the long run.

Childhood obesity is a problem in this country and many parents are looking for ways to help their children either lose weight or make healthier food choices, so trying the smaller plate approach couldn’t hurt.

Most experts would probably agree that what is on the plate is far more important than the size of the plate. For the most part, kids will eat what their parents eat.  If you’re making healthy food choices, your kids will accept and enjoy what’s on their plate.

The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Kathleen Doheny, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20130408/kids-given-big-plates-help-themselves-to-more-food

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