TITLE

Eating in larger groups increases food consumption

AUTHOR(S)
Lumeng, Julie C.; Hillman, Katherine H.
PUB. DATE
May 2007
SOURCE
Archives of Disease in Childhood;May2007, Vol. 92 Issue 5, p384
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Objective: To determine whether children's food consumption is increased by the size of the group of children in which they are eating. Design: Crossover study. Setting: University based preschool. Participants: 54 children, aged 2.5-6.5 years. Interventions: Each child ate a standardised snack in a group of three children, and in a group of nine children. Main outcome measures: Amount each individual child consumed, in grams. Results: Amount eaten and snack duration were correlated (r=0.71). The association between group size and amount eaten differed in the short (<11.4 min) versus the long (⩾11.4 min) snacks (p =0.02 for the interaction between group size and snack duration). During short snacks, there was no effect of group size on amount eaten (16.7 (SD 11) g eaten in small groups vs 15.1(6.6) g eaten in large groups, p = 0.42). During long snacks, large group size increased the amount eaten (34.5 (16) vs 26.5 (13.8), p = 0.02). The group size effect was partially explained by a shorter latency to begin eating, a faster eating rate and reduced social interaction in larger groups. Conclusions: Children consumed 30% more food when eating in a group of nine children than when eating in a group of three children during longer snacks. Social facilitation of food consumption operates in preschool- aged children. The group size effect merits consideration in creating eating behaviour interventions.
ACCESSION #
25374006

 

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