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Here's how to curb childhood obesity

In what could be a solution to childhood obesity, European scientists have invented a talking, computerised weighing device that tracks how quickly food is gobbled off the plate.

books Updated: Jan 07, 2010 15:28 IST

In what could be a solution to childhood obesity, European scientists have invented a talking, computerised weighing device that tracks how quickly food is gobbled off the plate.

The device called mandometer, which was developed by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, keeps tab during meal times and tells the user if they are wolfing down meals too fast - a habit experts have linked to weight gain.

In a trial with 106 obese children the gadget showed promising results, as after 12 months of use the kids weighed less and ate smaller portions.

Their speed of eating was reduced by 11 per cent compared with a gain of 4 per cent in a comparison group, the British Medical Journal said.

Experts believe eating too fast can interfere with an inbuilt signalling system that tells the brain to stop eating when the stomach becomes full.

But early in life, with instructions like "make sure you eat it all up", children are taught to override these signals, the BBC reported.

The scientists set out to design a device to pace eating, primarily to help patients with the eating disorder bulimia, who tend to eat quickly.