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1 in 8 parents requires kids to eat everything on their plate: Study

IANS Apr 23, 2024

While most parents of preschool kids aim to give their children a balanced or nutritional diet, one in eight parents requires their children to eat everything on their plate, a new study revealed on 22 April.

According to a study conducted by the US-based University of Michigan, just one in three parents believe the standard diet is healthy, compared to half who rank the Mediterranean diet higher in nutritional value.

As per Susan Woolford, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, parents who try to force kids to eat everything on their plate may encourage portions that go beyond feeling full.

"Requiring children to eat everything on their plate, or withholding dessert unless all other foods are eaten, can lead to overconsumption, especially if portion sizes are too large for the child’s age," she added.

The study, based on 1,083 responses from parents of children ages 3-10 surveyed in February, also noted that 60 per cent of parents will prepare a separate meal if their child dislikes the food served, often opting for a less healthy alternative.

"Rather than allowing the child to choose an alternate menu, parents should provide a balanced meal with at least one option that their child is typically willing to eat," Woolford said.

She further suggested that if a child chooses not to eat, parents need not worry, as this will not harm healthy children and "they will be more likely to eat the options presented at the next meal."

Woolford also recommended avoiding snacks between meals to help children develop a better appetite and increase their willingness to eat the foods offered.

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