25 Sep, 2015

Portion sizes for young children: how much should a toddler be eating?

The Independent | Judy More | 23 September 2015

Foods children learn to like in their early years can help shape eating habits that influence their health in later life

Many parents worry that their toddler is not eating enough and most expect them to eat more than they need. However eating more than is needed leads to them being overweight and obese. The UK is facing a health crisis related to obesity and 22 per cent of children starting school are either overweight or obese.

There is growing evidence that increasing portion sizes has an impact on the amount of food that adults and children consume and some portion sizes are now double what they were 20 years ago. Last week a three-year-old girl in the US was thought to have become the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.

Abstract: One predictor of what young children eat is which foods are offered and how much is put on their plates. Foods children learn to like in their early years can help shape eating habits that influence their health in later life.

To reassure parents who worry that their children aren’t eating enough and help to dissuade them from coercing toddlers to eat larger portions than they need to, here are some recommendations on portion size for 1-4 year olds.

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