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Talking device could help tackle childhood obesity

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A computerised device that shows how much food is being eaten in real time can help tackle obesity among young people, according to a UK study published online in the BMJ.

The Mandometer is a computerised weighing scale that plots a graph showing the rate at which food disappears from the plate, compared to an ideal graph programmed in by a food therapist. Bristol researchers found that young people using the device ate smaller portions, and more slowly.

Lead researcher Professor Julian Hamilton-Shield conducted trials with young, obese patients at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

He said the children learned how to eat more slowly and, as a result, felt full sooner and ate less.

“Their portion sizes decreased by a seventh. Even though this may not sound a lot, it is enough to make a difference.

“And the improvement seems to be durable because it continued six months after the trial finished.”

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