Child-size portions campaign

This week our childhood obesity campaign is back on air and the focus is on reducing portion sizes. Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva, our Chief Specialist in Nutrition, explains why...

Over the last three years of our campaign, most people will have heard the statistic that 1 in 4 children on the island of Ireland is overweight or obese. That’s why encouraging parents to help their children eat the right amounts, or the right kinds of foods, remains a huge focus for safefood. The next phase of the Childhood Obesity Campaign will focus on portion sizes.

Research has found that if a child, aged 4 or more, is given a bigger portion of food, they will eat more than they actually need. We can all relate to that and it illustrates just how important it is that we give children child-sized portions. For example, a 5 year old child needs about half the amount of food an adult needs so giving children smaller portions can help maintain a healthy body weight and reduce their risk of developing obesity-related health problems like type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

girl with a massive plate of meatballs

Some tips to remember

  • It’s a good idea to use smaller cutlery and dishes when trying to reduce portions. Studies show that when a child uses bigger cutlery and dishes, they consume more food.
  • When eating out, it’s common for children to be served large portions so be sure to ask for a child-sized portion.
  • It might take some time for them to become used to eating this way. If your child asks for more food, don’t be afraid to give it to them, but avoid giving them more "treat foods" such as biscuits, crisps, sweets and chocolate.
  • Be reminded not to pressure your children to eat everything on their plates. Children’s appetites change from day to day so allow them to eat to satisfaction but also give them guidance when it comes to eating too much of the wrong foods.

These are small steps to making a real difference to your child’s health and at the same time, making these changes to your child’s diet may actually make you think about what the whole family is eating and can benefit you all in the long run.

Posted: 16/08/2016 11:02:36 by Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva
Filed under: Campaigns, Childhood obesity, Obesity, Portion sizes

About Me

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Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva
Made in Portugal and living in Ireland since 2007. Working from Cork with the Human Health and Nutrition team. Mother to 3 amazing teens and Cosmo, a very special dog. We all love nice food, cooking and trying new recipes and new restaurants as a family. I love reading and I am a movie and music addict.