Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BRISBANE, Australia) — Moms know how it goes: no matter if their toddler has a belly full of food, they’ll still be able to stuff their face with a treat if one’s at hand.
Nutrition researcher Holly Harris at Queensland University of Technology in Australia says this seems to be the case with all children, all the way down to age three.
Harris conducted a study with 37 kids ages three and four and every single one of them went for a high-energy treat even though they weren’t hungry. In fact, eight of ten admitted to being really full just 15 minutes prior to getting the snack.
Meanwhile, boys and girls had different reasons for eating a treat in the absence of hunger. Apparently, when boys are pressured by moms to finish their meals, it seems to fuel their desire to have a snack when they don’t really crave one. Meanwhile, the same kind of pressure did not compel girls to continue eating although they couldn’t resist having a treat either.
According to Harris, people are born with the innate ability to control their feeding practices. However, “as we grow older, we become increasingly aware of the abundance and rewarding value of food, and in turn, our ability to respond appropriately to our appetite may diminish,” she added.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio