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Eat Behav. 2011 Aug;12(3):214-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.05.001. Epub 2011 May 27.

Slow rates of habituation predict greater zBMI gains over 12 months in lean children.

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School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, USA.


Slow rates of habituation are cross-sectionally related to greater energy intake and body weight. The present study is designed to assess whether slow rates of habituation are prospectively related to zBMI change over a 12 month period in 66 lean 8-12 year-old children, and whether the rate of habituation is a stable behavioral phenotype. Results showed that slower rates of habituation predicted greater zBMI change, controlling for child sex, age, initial zBMI, dietary awareness and minority status. In addition, the rate of habituation was stable over the year of observation. These data suggest that slow rates of habituation may be a risk factor for weight gain and the development of obesity. Future research is needed to understand the mechanism for this effect, and assess whether the habituation phenotype interacts with other behavioral phenotypes, such as food reinforcement, to influence increases in zBMI.

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