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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):226-31.

Eating in the absence of hunger and overweight in girls from 5 to 7 y of age.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, US Department of Agriculture Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Eating when exposed to large portions of palatable foods in the absence of hunger has been suggested to contribute to overweight.

OBJECTIVE:

This research evaluated whether young girls' eating in the absence of hunger was stable across a 2-y period in middle childhood, was associated with an increased risk of overweight, and could be predicted by parents' use of restriction in child feeding.

DESIGN:

The participants were 192 non-Hispanic white girls and their parents, assessed when the girls were 5 and 7 y of age. The girls' eating when exposed to palatable foods in the absence of hunger was measured after they consumed a standard lunch and indicated that they were no longer hungry.

RESULTS:

Eating in the absence of hunger showed moderate stability across the 2-y period for most of the girls. The girls who ate large amounts of snack foods in the absence of hunger at 5 and 7 y of age were 4.6 times as likely to be overweight at both ages. Parents' reports of restricting their daughter's access to foods at age 5 y predicted girls' eating in the absence of hunger at age 7 y, even when the girls' weight status and eating in the absence of hunger at age 5 y were controlled for.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides the first evidence that young girls' eating in the absence of hunger may represent a stable phenotypic behavior of young overweight girls. In addition, these findings are consistent with previous work indicating that parents' restrictive feeding practices may contribute to this behavior.

PMID:
12081839
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2604807
Free PMC Article
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