PORTLAND - You may say it at meal time to the kids, “Clean your plate!” You might also restrict junk food, like cookies and candy.
A new study shows those common parental practices might have a negative impact on a child’s weight.
“When my mom wants me to eat, she says, 'Drink your milk and clear your plate and you’ll get candy,'” 3-year-old Ryder said Monday at Washington Park.
“I do use bribery, but sometimes it’s the only way he’ll eat his dinner,” said his mom, Cassie Gill.
Bribery at mealtime can come with pressure. Those pressures were the focus of the study.
The research showed parents who encourage kids to eat everything at every meal with words like clean your plate were more likely to have kids with eating and weight problems later in life.
“They say don’t push it, choose your battles and if he doesn’t eat everything don’t worry about it,” said Morgan Talkington.
The research also showed moms were not as likely as dads to pressure kids, and that young boys were pressured more than young girls. When it comes to restricting junk food, the study showed kids were more likely to be overweight or obese in homes where cookies and candy were off limits.
“The thing is, to get them to eat, don’t give them a lot of sweets and things that aren’t good for them and they’ll eat the healthy stuff,” said grandmother Diana Stegner.
The Minnesota researchers did suggest a focus on healthy snacks and eating as a family at meal time.
They also concluded that parents should pay more attention to their child’s weight, instead of making clearing the entire plate a priority.