Canadian fifth-graders prefer larger portions of snacks and fast foods and smaller portions of vegetables than the recommended amounts, according to researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada.
The researchers showed nearly 5,000 children a variety of portion sizes of french fries, meat, cooked vegetables and potato chips and asked them to indicate their "usual portion sizes.
" More than 63 percent of the children chose french fry portions that were larger than American and Canadian dietary recommendations, with boys more than twice as likely as girls to select bigger portions. "Significantly larger" portions for meat and chips were selected by about 78 percent the children; for vegetables, 52 percent chose portion sizes smaller than or equal to dietary guidelines.
The study found kids who ate at fast-food restaurants more than once per week were more likely to consider large portions of fries and small portions of vegetables to be "usual," as did children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families and those who frequently ate while watching television.
"This study demonstrates that a great deal can be gained by expanding nutrition education with respect to moderation and choosing appropriate portion sizes," the researchers write.