rss
Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/adc.2006.103259

Eating in larger group increases food consumption

  1. Julie C Lumeng (jlumeng{at}umich.edu)
  1. University of Michigan, United States
    1. Katherine H Hillman (khhillman{at}gmail.com)
    1. University of Michigan, United States
      • Published Online First 14 February 2007

      Abstract

      Objective: To determine if children’s food consumption is increased by the size of the group of children in which they are eating.

      Design: Crossover study.

      Setting: University preschool.

      Participants: 54 children, ages 2.5-6.5 years.

      Interventions: Each child ate a standardized snack in a group of 3 children, and in a group of 9 children.

      Main Outcome Measures: Amount each individual child consumed, in grams.

      Results: Amount eaten and snack duration were correlated (r = .71). The association between group size and amount eaten differed in the short (< 11.4 minutes) versus the long (> 11.4 minutes) snacks (p = .02 for the interaction of group size and snack duration). During short snacks, there was no effect of group size on amount eaten (16.7 ± SD 11.0 grams eaten in small groups v. 15.1 ± 6.6 grams eaten in large groups, p = .42). During long snacks, large group size increased amount eaten (34.5 ± 16.0 v. 26.5 ± 13.8, p = .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 9 children than when eating in a group of 3 children during longer snacks. Social facilitation of food consumption operates in preschool- aged children. The group size effect merits consideration in creating eating behavior interventions.

      Relevant Articles

      Free sample

      This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC.
      View free sample issue >>

      Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

      Navigate This Article