Recent studies, which analyzed the factors contributing to childhood obesity and published in the journal, Pediatrics, suggests that serving meals on smaller plates, monitoring the time spent watching television and programs watched and making sure children get sleep for sufficient time would greatly help parents to keep a check on their children's weight and health.
In one study, 41 first-grade children were given adult-size dinner plates. The children were found to serve themselves with large portions of food and consumed nearly 50% of extra calories from that excess food. It was also noticed that when children liked a meal they served themselves an average of 104.2 calories in excess. Hence, giving children small sized plates would keep their intake in control.
In another study, researchers from the Boston Children' Hospital evaluated the screen media usage among 91 teens and found that television still remains the most often used media and its contribution to obesity is high when compared to computer and video games. Moreover, children who paid high attention to television were bound to watch the advertisements marketing high calorie snacks and those children were found to be obese.
One other study, researcher from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia analyzed the relationship between sleep and bodyweight. 1,390 high school students were followed up for four years and the findings indicate that sleep deprivation leads to increased BMI. Researchers attribute it to increased levels of hunger hormone, which could have led to overeating and weight gain.
The findings of these studies provide practical guidelines for parents to keep their children's weight under control.