If you're worried that snacking on chips or soda is making your child overweight, you may be missing the bigger picture.
At least according to Dr. Clare Llewellyn, a lecturer on obesity research at the University College London. Speaking at conference on childhood obesity, Llewellyn told the crowd that children are less likely to be overweight if their parents stick to healthy portion sizes and say "no" when kids ask for a second helping.
It may be tough to act strict, but Llewellyn says research shows children can't help themselves, so parents need to be firm.
Llewellyn says that obese children eat pretty much the same food as regular children, but their meals are a tiny bit bigger. The average difference was just 12 calories per meal. That may seem small, but it adds up to an extra 5,500 calories each month.
While parents might be afraid to say no to their kids, Llwellyn says that if children aren't skipping any meals during the day, they don't need to go back for more at dinner time.
Research says that as many as 50% of children have some form of "guilty genes," which give them a larger appetite so they almost never feel full. Parents may notice their children are growing faster than other children, then before they know it they're an unhealthy weight.
This is why Llewellyn thinks parents shouldn't back down when their kids reach for that extra scoop of mashed potatoes, some children will just keep eating even if they're not really hungry.
"There is no need for parents to keep laying out lashings of extra food on their plates when a child is getting three meals a day and two snacks," she told the Mail.
Honestly? This advice sounds pretty awful. One of the best things about being a kid was getting an extra scoop of tuna casserole from your parents at dinner, but overweight kids are a big problem in the UK.
Research by the British government shows that 1 in 3 children are overweight, which can lead to all sorts of health problems. But that second bowl of mac and cheese is just too good to pass up!