Kids these days are growing up too fast. They’re acquainted with tragedy, death, and destruction from the time they realize there’s a world outside their house. They’re sexualized long before they even know what sex is. They’re developing diseases that were once reserved for hard-living adults. And along with adult problems, adult attitudes, and adult illnesses, they’re being handed adult plates to eat off of.
Okay, so that last one might sound like the last things parents should be worried about, but the truth is that along side those adult-sized plates, we may be handing our children their adult-sized clothing and adult-sized diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease.
A recent study has shown that kids eat more when they have more space to put their food, and often that means they’re eating adult-sized portions rather than ones that are appropriate for their age and size.
The study, published in this month’s Journal of Pediatrics, showed that children load up large plates with more food, and therefore eat more, than when handed plates that are more appropriate for their size.
The same is true for adults: larger plates means more food can fit on it without looking like it’s too much. Perceptions of portion size change, and, with it, the size of our pants.
So next time you hand your kid a plate and tell him to serve himself, make sure that just like the media he consumes, it’s age appropriate. His health and well-being may depend on it.