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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Mar;18(3):505-12. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.299. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Identification of an obese eating style in 4-year-old children born at high and low risk for obesity.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Erratum in

  • Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Mar;18(3):648.


This study tested whether children's eating behavior and parental feeding prompts during a laboratory test meal differ among children born at high risk (HR) or low risk (LR) for obesity and are associated with excess child weight gain. At 4 years of age, 32 HR children (mean maternal prepregnancy BMI = 30.4 kg/m(2)) and 29 LR children (maternal BMI = 19.6 kg/m(2)) consumed a test meal in which their eating behavior was assessed, including rate of caloric consumption, mouthfuls/min, and requests for food. Parental prompts for the child to eat also were measured at year 4, and child body composition was measured at ages 4 and 6 years. T-tests, and logistic and multiple regression analyses tested study aims. Results indicated that HR and LR children did not differ in eating rate or parental feeding prompts. Greater maternal BMI, child mouthfuls of food/min, and total caloric intake/min during the test meal predicted an increased risk of being overweight or obese at age 6, whereas greater active mealtime was associated with a reduced risk of being overweight or obese. Regression analyses indicated that only mouthfuls of food/min predicted changes in BMI from 4 to 6 years, and mouthfuls of food/min and gender predicted 2-year changes in sum of skinfolds and total body fat. Thus, a rapid eating style, characterized by increased mouthfuls of food/min, may be a behavioral marker for the development of childhood obesity.

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