Self-regulation and Rapid Weight Gain in Children From Age 3 to 12 Years

Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA.
JAMA Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 4.25). 05/2009; 163(4):297-302. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.579
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine the extent to which self-regulatory capacities, measured behaviorally at ages 3 and 5 years, were linked to rapid weight gain in children from age 3 to 12 years. Self-regulation failure, or the inability to control an impulse or behavior, has been implicated as a mechanism in the development of overweight.
Prospective longitudinal cohort study.
Home and laboratory-based settings in 10 sites across the United States.
Data were drawn from 1061 children as part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Main Exposure Self-regulatory capacity was measured in 2 behavioral protocols; children participated in a self-control procedure at age 3 years and a delay of gratification procedure at age 5 years.
Age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) z scores were calculated based on measured BMI at 6 points.
Mixed-modeling analyses were used to examine differences in the rate of weight gain over time based on the extent to which children exhibited the ability to self-regulate in the behavioral procedures. Compared with children who showed high self-regulation in both behavioral protocols at ages 3 and 5 years, children who exhibited a compromised ability to self-regulate had the highest BMI z scores at each point and the most rapid gains in BMI z scores over the 9-year period. Effects of pubertal status were also noted for girls.
Self-regulation failure in early childhood may predispose children to excessive weight gain through early adolescence.

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    • "Higher levels of infant negative reactivity, particularly distress to limitations, predict a greater weight status or weight gain (Darlington & Wright 2006; Anzman & Birch 2009), suggesting that a highly negative temperament may be a risk factor for obesity. Better selfregulation abilities, including the ability to delay gratification, predict a lower weight status (Francis & Susman 2009; Graziano et al. 2010), suggesting that self-regulation may be a protective factor. Early negativity may lead individuals to become obese if highly negative infants are fed more often as an attempt to soothe their distress (Anzman-Frasca et al. 2012a; Carey 1985; Darlington & Wright 2006; Stifter et al. 2011). "
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    Prevention Science 07/2013; 15(5). DOI:10.1007/s11121-013-0408-4 · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite the great variability in assessment methods, the studies together demonstrate an association between higher childhood BMIs for age and poorer performance on inhibitory control tasks [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]. Additionally, some studies demonstrated the predictive value of inhibitory control at a young age: poorer performance at a young age (2–7 years) predicted a higher BMI at a later age (5.5–15 years) (refer to Table 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between the development of executive function (EF) and obesity in children and adolescents. We reviewed 1,065 unique abstracts: 31 from PubMed, 87 from Google Scholar, 16 from Science Direct, and 931 from PsycINFO. Of those abstracts, 28 met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. From the articles reviewed, an additional 3 articles were added from article references (N = 31). Twenty-three studies pertained to EF (2 also studied the prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortices (OFCs); 6 also studied cognitive function), five studied the relationship between obesity and prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortices, and three evaluated cognitive function and obesity. Inhibitory control was most often studied in both childhood (76.9%) and adolescent (72.7%) studies, and obese children performed significantly worse (P < 0.05) than healthy weight controls on various tasks measuring this EF domain. Although 27.3% of adolescent studies measured mental flexibility, no childhood studies examined this EF domain. Adolescents with higher BMI had a strong association with neurostructural deficits evident in the OFC. Future research should be longitudinal and use a uniform method of EF measurement to better establish causality between EF and obesity and consequently direct future intervention strategies.
    Journal of obesity 02/2013; 2013:820956. DOI:10.1155/2013/820956
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    • "Although previous prevention and intervention programs were mainly focused on self-control with respect to eating and exercise, few approaches emphasize the enhancement of basic cognitive functions such as self-regulation to restore and maintain a healthy diet (Whitaker & Gooze, 2009). Self-regulation failure, or the inability to control an impulse or behavior, however, has been implicated as a basic mechanism of weight gain (Francis & Susman, 2009). Our study aimed to find some evidence for the hypothesis that an effective therapy based on a self-management concept (Kanfer et al., 2006) does not only have a positive impact on weight reduction but also is accompanied by enhancement of inhibitory control both in general, and more specifically with regard to food-related information processing in adolescents. "
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