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Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):574-83. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037952. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Caloric compensation and eating in the absence of hunger in 5- to 12-y-old weight-discordant siblings.

Author information

1
Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. tkral@nursing.upenn.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An impaired ability to compensate for calories and increased eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) has been associated with increased energy intake and weight gain in unrelated children.

OBJECTIVE:

The aims of this study were to compare caloric compensation [the percentage compensation index (%COMPX)] and EAH in weight-discordant siblings aged 5-12 y.

DESIGN:

In a crossover, behavioral genetics design, 47 same-sex sibling pairs (53% female, 55% full siblings) were served dinner once a week for 3 wk. Across conditions, siblings were served the same dinner, but 25 min before dinner, they either consumed in full or did not consume 1 of 2 preloads that varied in energy density (ED; 0.57 or 0.97 kcal/g). On the day when no preload was consumed, EAH was assessed after dinner and defined as the number of calories consumed from snacks.

RESULTS:

Overweight/obese siblings undercompensated [%COMPX: -48.8 ± 56.3 (mean ± SEM)] and therefore overate after the high-ED preload, whereas normal-weight siblings showed accurate compensation (%COMPX: 101.3 ± 51.9; P = 0.03). Furthermore, overweight/obese siblings consumed 34% more calories (93 kcal) in the absence of hunger than did normal-weight siblings (P = 0.01). Within-pair resemblances for %COMPX and EAH were stronger for full siblings (P < 0.049) than for half siblings (P > 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS:

An impaired ability to regulate short-term energy intake, which includes incomplete adjustment for calorie differences in a preload and eating when satiated, may represent a behavioral phenotype for obesity in children. Future studies should test whether teaching children to focus on internal satiety cues may prevent at-risk children from overeating.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01598389.

PMID:
22854400
PMCID:
PMC3417216
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.112.037952
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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