If your child is slightly on the heavy side, you may want to monitor his eating habits, as a new study featured on MedicalNewsToday.com has proven that those with excess weight are prone to gaining more of it.

In an experiment that included 47 pairs of young siblings of the same gender, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing presented the participants with a high-calorie appetizer before having dinner. They found that the heavier siblings ate more of the treat than their lighter counterparts. They also ate the same amount of dinner regardless of how much they previously snacked.

The sibling pairs were then observed for three weeks. Once a week, they were offered tomato pasta, broccoli, unsweetened apple sauce, and two percent milk. When given the option to have dessert, researchers found that that the overweight children out-ate their siblings by 93 calories more.

Lead author Tanja Kral, Ph.D. says that the bodies of overweight children may be unable to adjust to calorie differences, resulting in having the need to eat although they're already full.

As this inability is both hereditary and behavioral, there are ways to overcome it. Children need to have a structured schedule for meals, and food served should be a healthy mix of meat, fish, vegetables, and a small portion of dessert. Discipline and respect for both food and one's health may sound abstract to a child, but when taught by example, these are things that they can live by even as they grow older.

(Photo by {Charlotte.Morrall} via Flickr Creative Commons)

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