Most Adults Are Members of 'Clean Plate Club'

FRIDAY July 25, 2014, 2014 -- Unlike children, the vast majority of adults finish all of the food they put on their plate at mealtime, according to a new study.

This is true for adults from much of the world -- not just Americans, researchers from Cornell University revealed.

They noted their findings could help those trying to lose weight or improve their eating habits make better choices.

"If you put it on your plate, it's going into your stomach," researcher Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, said in a university news release. "Just knowing that you're likely to consume almost all of what you serve yourself can help you be more mindful of appropriate portion size."

The findings were recently published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The researchers analyzed almost 1,200 diners in eight different countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands. Despite differences in gender and geography, the result after each meal was almost always a clean plate. The average adult eats 92 percent of what is on his or her plate.

"Part of why we finish most of what we serve is because we are aware enough to know how much we'll want in the first place," said study co-author Katherine Abowd Johnson of Cornell University in the news release.

Although adults are likely to clean their plates, the same is not true for kids. After analyzing 326 participants younger than 18 years, the researchers found the average child only eats about 59 percent of what is on his or her plate.

"This might be because kids are less certain about whether they will like a particular food," added Wansink. "Regardless, this is good news for parents who are frustrated that their kids don't clean their plate. It appears few of them do."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on how to improve your eating habits.

Posted: July 2014


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