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Am Psychol. 2020 Feb-Mar;75(2):152-162. doi: 10.1037/amp0000599.

Behavioral and social routines and biological rhythms in prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity.

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Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University.
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Department of Nutrition, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, University of Tennessee.


A growing body of research supports the potential importance of behavioral and social routines for children's health promotion and obesity risk reduction. Evidence in support of this comes from multiple lines of research, which suggest that specific behavioral routines, namely, eating and sleep routines, may be protective against excessive weight gain and development of pediatric obesity. Emerging work also supports the potential importance of the timing of these behavioral routines. From a circadian perspective, alignment of behavioral and social routines with underlying circadian rhythms may be particularly important for enhancing children's weight regulation. Specifically, engaging in appropriately timed behavioral routines may serve to entrain circadian rhythms that affect metabolism and weight regulation. Thus, in addition to promoting healthier eating, activity, and sleep behaviors for prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity, it may also be important to consider promotion of consistency in, and optimal timing of, these behaviors in an effort to enhance extant prevention and treatment approaches. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).


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