Researchers at the University of Minnesota found parents who pushed their children to clean their plates had a negative impact on the way those children ate as they grew up.
While the practice may be well-intentioned, experts say the pressure to join the "clean plate club" may be contributing to weight issues later in life.
They also found that parents who restricted certain foods were more likely to have overweight or obese children.
According to researchers, dads were more likely than moms to pressure their children to eat, and adolescent boys were pressured more than adolescent girls.
Restricting food from kids was a common practice of both fathers and mothers, in both boys and girls.
Researchers say parents should keep an eye on their child's weight and understand good eating practices, instead of worrying about whether their children clean their plates or have a cookie now and then.
Here are a few recommendations for instilling good eating habits in your family:
- Eating regular family meals
- Having nutritious snacks at home
- Choosing healthy foods and encouraging young people to make better food choices as a way to fight weight problems.
The study is published today in the journal Pediatrics.