Researchers find that eating habits in childhood can be a factor that helps to predict overweight in adulthood.
Researchers set up an interactive website to gather information about childhood predictors of adult body mass index (BMI) from the general public.
The scientists discovered that "crowdsourcing" - everyday people asking and answering questions of each other - could zero-in on predictors of obesity.
More interesting, the website visitors discovered some intriguing connections that experts hadn't considered.
Josh Bongard, a UVM computer scientist and co-author on the new study, said that obesity is a very well-investigated subject and yet the public was able to find new angles.
He said that the non-expert might trigger the expert to think along a different line that they haven't tried before, asserting that they're democratizing investigation here.
Over a two-week period, 532 adults from various English-speaking countries visited the website and supplied their height and weight to determine their BMI.
Paul Hines, a co-author and professor in UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, said that the most highly correlated question was: did your parents encourage you to clean your plate?, asserting that if their parents forced them to eat everything on their plate as a child, then they're more likely to be overweight as an adult.
The study has been published in PLOS ONE.