Satiety responsiveness in toddlerhood predicts energy intake and weight status at 4 years of age (#234)
The aim of this study was to examine whether maternal-report of child eating behaviour at age 2 years predicted energy intake and weight status at age 4 years.
Using an ‘eating in the absence of hunger’ paradigm, energy intake (kJ) from a semi-standardized lunch meal and a standardized selection of snacks were measured. Participants were 37 children (16 male, Median age = 4.4, IQR = 3.7-4.5 years) recruited via an existing longitudinal study (NOURISH RCT). All participants were tested in their own home. Data on maternal characteristics, child eating behaviours (age 2 years) reported by mothers on a validated questionnaire, and measured child height and weight were collected within the NOURISH trial. Correlation and partial correlation analyses were used to examine longitudinal relationships.
Satiety responsiveness and Slowness in eating were inversely associated with energy intake of the lunch meal (ps < .05) and the former was also negatively associated with BMI-for-age Z score (p < .05). Food responsiveness and Enjoyment of food were not related to energy intake or BMI Z score. None of the eating behaviours were significantly associated with energy intake of the snacks (i.e., eating in the absence of hunger).
The small and predominantly ‘healthy weight’ sample of children may have limited the ability to detect some hypothesized effects. Nevertheless, the significant findings are consistent with the rationale for obesity prevention interventions to commence early and to target feeding practices that support children’s ability to recognize and respond appropriately to signals of satiety.