Children who are familiar with a snack food will expect it to be more filling, according to psychologists at the University of Bristol. This latest study into growing childhood obesity rates is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
It suggests that those snacks that form a regular part of a child’s diet may be misinterpreted in terms of portion control and nutritional value.
Seventy 11- to 12-year-old children took part in the study. They used a specialised computer task in order to quantify the fullness that they expected from different snack food products. They also reported how frequently they ate the snacks.
Dr Charlotte Hardman, one of the authors from the Nutrition and Behaviour Unit in the University's School of Experimental Psychology, said: "Presenting children with a wide variety of different snack food products may make it difficult to predict their fullness. Our study suggests that if parents choose to give snack foods to their children, they may wish to stick to the same products."