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Appetite. 2006 May;46(3):318-23. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

'Finish your soup': counterproductive effects of pressuring children to eat on intake and affect.

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Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA.


The authors examined whether pressuring preschoolers to eat would affect food intake and preferences, using a repeated-measures experimental design. In the experimental condition, children were pressured to eat by a request to finish their food. We collected intake data, heights and weights, child-feeding practices data, and children's comments about the food. Children consumed significantly more food when they were not pressured to eat and they made overwhelmingly fewer negative comments. Children who were pressured to eat at home had lower body mass index percentile scores and were less affected by the pressure in the lab setting than children who were not pressured at home. These data provide experimental evidence supporting previous correlational research indicating that pressure can have negative effects on children's affective responses to and intake of healthy foods.

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