The study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics was designed to determine what factors might impact on how much food parents are serving their young children.
“Because young children have difficulty recognising when they are full, the more food they are presented at mealtime, the more they are likely to eat,” said Sarah Stromberg, student at the University of Florida.
In the study conducted on 29 children between three to six years of age, their mothers were asked to rate their hunger as well as their child’s hunger prior to a meal.
For the study, mother-child pairs were asked to participate in interactions during play time, lunch or dinner. After 10 minutes of a play activity, mothers were asked to rate their own hunger and their child’s hunger.
The researchers brought in a selection of food and drinks and asked the mother to serve her child and herself.
Among mothers who were overweight or obese and those who rated their own hunger higher also perceived their child’s hunger as higher, and in turn, served their child larger portions of food.
Researchers found that for mothers who were over-weight tend to dish out more food to their children.
Regardless of a mother’s weight or perceptions of hunger, most of the participants served their child portions that were larger than recommended daily allowances, revealed the study.
“Parents decide what to serve their kids and when, but kids still should have a reasonable amount of control over how much they eat. If kids eat an appropriate serving size and are still hungry they can ask for more,” said David Janicke, Professor, University of Florida.