Big Personalities, Big Portion Sizes in Kids
Should parents let their children serve themselves? The answer may depend on a child’s personality. In a small study, researchers tested elementary-school kids’ portion control on four different days. On two days, a cafeteria worker served students their requested amount of cereal and milk in either a 16- or a 12-ounce bowl. The other two days, kids were given the large or small bowls and told to serve themselves. Based on teacher and counselor rankings of the children’s extroversion or introversion, researchers examined whether personality played a role in portion sizes. Extroverts served themselves 33 percent more cereal in larger bowls than in smaller ones while introverts weren’t affected by bowl size. When adults dished out breakfast, though, students in both groups requested more cereal when given a large bowl than a small one. The researchers say the findings suggest parents consider a child’s personality, serving extroverts and letting introverts help themselves. That said, a case can be made for total parental control: Previous research suggests that children dish up 23 percent more food on average when serving themselves.
Source: PLOS One, October 2013