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J Pediatr Psychol. 2009 Jul;34(6):596-605. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn037. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Influences on child eating and weight development from a behavioral genetics perspective.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Childhood obesity is a strong risk factor for associated comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and orthopedic abnormalities in youth and its increasing incidents thus represents a major public health concern. The following review provides evidence for a familial association between parental and child weight status, eating behaviors, and food preferences. It further draws the link between environmental influences, such as parent feeding practices, and the development of child eating behaviors and thereby elucidates how genetic and nongenetic influences can contribute to the familial transmission of obesity. We use eating in the absence of hunger, an eating trait which refers to children's susceptibility to eating in response to the presence of palatable foods in the absence of hunger, as an example to illustrate these associations. The review concludes with an outlook on possibilities for future research efforts in the field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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