The research*, led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and published in the latest International Journal of Obesity, also found that how snacks are presented (in a large or small container) has little influence on how much children snack.
Lead researcher Dr Jessica Kerr said their study found children weren't greatly affected by container size, with food consumption mainly driven by the quantity/variety of snacks on offer.
Push - Nutritionists - Health - Officials - Dishware
"There has been a popular push by nutritionists and public health officials towards replacing large dishware with smaller versions to nudge people towards healthier decisions," she said. "But we have found dishware size has very little effect on the amount of food consumed."
Dr Kerr said while the overconsumption of snack foods is an important contributor to obesity, most people do not recognise the impact it has on their calorie intake.
Children - Adults - Snacks - Part - Energy
"Children and adults should only consume energy-dense snacks occasionally -- they do not need to be part of daily energy intake," she said. "But the reality is that Australians typically get around 30-40 per cent of their energy intake from snack foods."
Dr Kerr said three times as many children in Australia are now overweight or obese compared to 30 years ago.
Cent - Children - Complications - Children - Type
"About 20 per cent (1 in 5) of children are overweight or obese," she said. "There are many complications of children being overweight such as type 2 diabetes, orthopaedic and respiratory disorders, liver problems and sleep apnoea."
Dr Kerr said until now studies into snacking behavior were limited by self-reported data or small sample sizes.
Past - Studies - Meals - Dr - Kerr
"Past dietary studies have mostly focused on main meals," Dr Kerr said. "It is important to determine on a larger scale how dishware size and the quantity, variety, and energy density of snacks affect both child and adult snacking behavior when apart from each other outside of the family environment," she said.
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