As a parent, you want to make sure your child is eating enough, but a new report has shown that parents may be taking things a step too far.
With the ever-growing worry of childhood obesity, The Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF) commissioned a survey of 1000 parents – warning them about the increasing chances of their children becoming obese.
The study involved parents being shown picture of various food portions and being asked what size portion they would give their children, as well as how often they give them certain foods.
The study revealed that a shocking one-in-ten parents give their pre-school children adult sized portions, meaning they are at risk of becoming overweight.
With 73% of parents worrying that their children aren’t eating enough, 79% are giving their children much bigger portions than necessary.
When looking at snack foods, it was discovered that of the 1000 parents involved in the survey, 45% let their children have crisps two-three times week, with 17% allowing them crisps four to six times a week and six per cent giving them crisps every day.
To add to that, seven of ten parents gave their children a larger portion than the recommended allowance.
It even extends to fruit juices. The recommended amount for a child is 100ml and for an adult it is 200ml – 31% of parents are giving their child double the amount they should.
Most toddlers are better at regulating their food intake, only eating when they’re hungry and not over eating, however the portion sizes given to them by their parents make a huge impact for the rest of their lives.
If larger portions are given, it can override a child’s self regulation system and can lead to the child continuing the habit of overeating throughout their lives – which can cause health issues.
However it’s never too late to start promoting healthy eating and portion sizes.
Judy More, paediatric dietitian and member of the ITF has said: ‘Practical advice for parents on appropriate portion sizes for toddlers has been lacking, so it’s not surprising our survey revealed a significant lack of understanding about how much to feed them.
ITF have now developed a user-friendly guide help parents ensure they’re giving their child the correct portion sizes for their 1-4 year olds.