Psychology: do not force children to eat

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Children should also be allowed to leave food

Children should be able to leave food when they have no appetite. If the parents force you to eat your meal completely, this has a negative rather than a positive effect, reports the professional association of pediatricians in a current press release. Individual foods should also not be banned entirely, the BVKJ continues.

"You eat what comes on the plate! As long as there is something on the plate, you will not get up! If you don’t eat, tomorrow’s bad weather!" Everyone knows the phrases with which children should be moved to eat. However, according to the BVKJ, the children must also have the option of leaving food leftovers, otherwise the risk of being overweight increases significantly later in life. The complete ban on certain dishes has a similar negative effect, explained the BVKJ press spokesman Dr. Ulrich Fegeler, citing an American study published in the specialist magazine "Pediatrics".

Fathers with their sons eating particularly strictly The American study has shown that fathers in particular often insist on eating their plate empty of their sons, according to the BVKJ. An approach that can have significant long-term effects on children's health. "This educational behavior prevents children from paying attention to their own feeling of hunger or satiety," emphasized Dr. Fegeler. Instead, they would learn to be influenced by external influences, such as too much food. It would be better here "to encourage children to eat healthy, to offer plenty of fruit and vegetables and to allow them to snack moderately," explained the pediatrician. Of particular importance is also "the parental model on which children orient themselves," says Dr. Fegeler continues.

Strict ban on certain foods increases the risk of overweight The US scientists led by study director Katie Loth from the University of Minnesota had evaluated the data of more than 2,200 teenagers aged 14 years and their parents (3,431 persons) and in particular the relationships between eating habits, educational requirements and the development of body weight are analyzed. They come to the conclusion that children should be carefully introduced to a conscious diet. For example, if you are allowed to choose your own meal, you have to learn not to indiscriminately load dishes onto your plate, which in the end will not be eaten anyway. The study also showed that "children who were strictly forbidden from eating certain foods tended to be overweight as early as childhood," reports the BVKJ. Here the researchers suspect a psychological effect. The forbidden is particularly appealing to the children, which is why they grab it greedily when they have the opportunity. (fp)

Image: Karl-Heinz Laube /

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