From Science Daily:

Data from a large UK survey on the eating habits of very young children (aged 4-18 months) show that overweight children consume larger meals, but do not eat more frequently, than healthy weight children. This study of the UK Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children (DNSIYC) is presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg (1-4 June) by Hayley Syrad, University College London, UK, and colleagues.

It has been the subject of much debate whether individuals become overweight because they eat too much at each eating occasion (have larger ‘meal sizes’) and/or eat too often ( have a higher ‘meal frequency’) compared with individuals of a healthy weight. However, in spite of the concern about childhood obesity, this topic has been under-researched in young children. In this study, the authors used parent- reported intake for very young children from a large national dietary dataset in the UK to study meal size and meal frequency in relation to weight.

The researchers used diet diaries collected in 2564 children aged 4-18 months from the 2011 national DNSIYC survey. The team found that overweight children were consuming larger meals than the healthy weight children (141 calories versus 130 calories, respectively at each eating occasion), but they were not eating any more frequently throughout the course of the day. For every extra 24 calories (100 kJ) consumed during each meal, there was a 9% increased risk of overweight/obesity. Importantly, the overweight children appeared to be consuming more calories than the healthy…

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