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Frequent Eating in Kids Tied to Less Weight Gain

But this won't hold true with unhealthy foods, expert warns

continued...

Some of the studies tried to account for those factors, such as exercise habits. But the studies varied in which factors they considered, and that's a limitation, Kaisari's team noted.

"This all raises more questions than answers," Field said.

It is biologically plausible that eating frequency affects metabolism and weight control, according to Field. And other studies, she said, have suggested that skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain -- though it's not clear why that is.

What is clear, according to Field, is that what your child eats, and how many total calories he or she gets, is key. "If you're eating frequently, but you're eating fast food, that's obviously not good," she said.

And if your child is currently eating three big meals, this study does not imply you should add snacks to that, Field stressed. "What you don't want parents to do," she said, "is add calories to what their child is already eating."

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