The rise of energy drinks and processed foods as well as more sedentary lifestyles have been blamed before for the childhood obesity epidemic – but it seems parents’ lack of knowledge regarding portion sizes is also playing a major role.
According to a study carried out by the UK’s Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF), four out of five parents are overfeeding their toddlers and pre-schoolers.
The study, carried out across 1000 parents, sought to uncover the extent of knowledge that today’s parents have regarding what children under five years should be eating – and some alarming statistics were revealed.
According to the study results, only a quarter of respondents reported being ‘very confident’ about correct portion sizes for their young children.
This is illustrated by the statistic showing that one in 10 parents are serving up adult-sized portions to their toddlers, while two-thirds of those surveyed are ‘routinely’ giving their pre-schoolers too many sweets or too much squash.
Researchers are concerned that, with many parents holding an irrational fear that their children aren’t eating enough, their bad habits are opening their little ones up to an increased obesity risk.
The ITF now wants parents to ‘rethink toddler portion sizes’.
The organisation’s Gill Harris commented: “Most parents think their children are not eating enough, and the tendency is to give them too much and then put pressure on them to eat it all up…Outside mealtimes and snacks that are built into a routine, young children shouldn’t be given any more food as they don’t need it.”
Do you think parents need more education regarding children’s portion sizes?