Most of the world belongs to the clean plate club—except children

July 22, 2014, Cornell Food & Brand Lab
"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." Brian Wansink Ph.D. Credit: Daniel Miller

If you're a member of the Clean Plate Club – you eat pretty much everything you put on your plate – you're not alone! A new Cornell University study shows that the average adult eats 92% of whatever he or she puts on his or her plate. "If you put it on your plate, it's going into your stomach," says Brian Wansink Ph.D., author of the forthcoming book, Slim by Design, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Wansink and co-author Katherine Abowd Johnson analyzed 1179 diners and concluded that we're a Clean Plate Planet. Although diners were analyzed in 8 developed countries, the US, Canada, France, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands, the results were nearly identical. If we serve it, we'll it regardless of gender or nationality. "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," says Johnson.

The finding did not hold true with children. Analysis of 326 participants under 18 years old, showed that the average child eats only 59% of what he or she serves. "This might be because kids are less certain about whether they will like a particular food," says 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."

Wansink says that these findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, can positively impact an individual's eating behavior, "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." Next time you grab that serving spoon, think to yourself, "How much do I want to eat?" and serve accordingly.

Explore further: Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI

Related Stories

Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI

October 29, 2013
Beyond plate size and calorie count, the war against obesity may have a new leader – the dinner table. Families that eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone's finished have children with lower ...

Fun or exercise? Think fun when exercising and you'll eat less later

July 9, 2014
Think of your next exercise workout as a "fun run" or as a well-deserved break, and you'll eat less afterward. Think of it as exercise or as a workout and you'll later eat more dessert and snacks to reward yourself.

Recommended for you

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Parents modeling healthy behaviors leads to markedly better outcomes for children

December 13, 2017
When trying to help children lose weight, involving a parent in the treatment makes the entire family healthier, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown.

'Obesity paradox' not found when measuring new cases of cardiovascular disease

December 7, 2017
Although obesity is a well-known risk factor for getting cardiovascular disease, a controversial body of research suggests that obesity may actually be associated with improved survival among people who have cardiovascular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.