Teaching kids to listen to their bodies
May 3, 2013


Children are usually not shy about telling us when they are hungry or full.

Sometimes, however, it would be helpful to see inside their small stomachs to know if what they are saying is really true!

Children must follow their bodies' hunger and fullness cues to eat enough, but not too much.

As children get older they can begin to lose touch with their hunger and fullness cues.

The types of foods offered to children and conversations at the table help or hinder children from listening to these cues.

Serving large portion sizes and energy-rich foods (like macaroni and cheese, pizza, cookies) at meals and snacks can override children's internal cues and cause overeating.

In addition, the way parents and caregivers pressure children to eat at the table can also distract children from their bodies' cues.

Here are a number of strategies that can be used at the table to help children stay in touch with their hunger and fullness:


Paula Strawder is the families and health extension agent for the WVU Extension Service.


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