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: 5.73). 05/2009; 163(4):297-302. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.579
Source: PubMed


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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    • "First, children with poorer self-regulatory skills may have limited response inhibition to distractions and temptations, thereby increasing their inclination toward unhealthy behaviors that promote weight gain and sedentariness over time (Epstein, Salvy, Carr, Dearing, & Bickel, 2010). Recent prospective, longitudinal studies provide some support of this hypothesis by showing that a lack of early self-regulation skills predispose children to being overweight or obese (Duckworth, Tsukayama, & Geier, 2010; Francis & Susman, 2009; Graziano et al., 2010; Seeyave et al., 2009; Tsukayama, Toomey, Faith, & Duckworth, 2010). Second, it is proposed that children with better selfregulation skills may be better able to meet the challenges associated with participation in structured sporting activities on a regular basis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Purpose . Health promotion in youth is likely to benefit from enhancing academic achievement and physical activity. The present study examines how kindergarten childhood self-regulation skills and behaviors predict involvement in both structured and unstructured physical and nonphysical extracurricular activities in the fourth grade. As a second objective this study also investigated how kindergarten childhood participation in extracurricular activities predicts classroom engagement, reflective of self-regulation, by the fourth grade. Design . Secondary analyses were conducted using prospective-longitudinal data. Setting . The Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, Quebec, Canada. Subjects . Participants were randomly selected at birth from a stratified sample of 2694 born in Québec, Canada, between 1997 and 1998. Participants were included if they had complete data on teacher ratings of child self-regulation as measured by classroom engagement and parent ratings of sports participation (n = 935). Measures . Teachers reported self-regulation skills in children through a measure of classroom engagement. Parents provided reports of child participation extracurricular activities. Analysis . Ordinary least-squares regressions were conducted. Results . A higher-frequency kindergarten involvement with structured physical activities was associated with fourth-grade classroom engagement (β = .061, 95% confidence interval [CI]: .017, .104). Better kindergarten classroom engagement predicted more frequent participation in fourth-grade structured physical activities (β = .799, 95% CI: .405, 1.192) and team sports (β = .408, 95% CI: .207, .608). Conclusion . Results suggest mutual relations between physical activity and self-regulation from kindergarten to grade four. This suggests strong learning skills indicative of self-regulation and opportunities to participate in supervised physical activities or sports teams may help children develop healthy dispositions and behaviors in emerging adolescence.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · American journal of health promotion: AJHP
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    • "Longitudinal studies show that delay of gratification – the ability to resist temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward (Botano & Boland, 1983; Bruce et al., 2012) – is protective for the development of childhood obesity. Two separate analyses of data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that delay of gratification in the preschool years was associated with lower child body mass index (BMI) at ages 11 (Seeyave et al., 2009) and 12 (Francis & Susman, 2009). In a separate study, Schlam, Wilson, Shoda, Mischel, and Ayduk (2013) found that children who exhibited greater delay of gratification in a laboratory at age four had lower BMIs thirty years later. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to examine relationships between child eating self-regulation, child non-eating self-regulation, and child BMIz in a low-income sample of Hispanic families with preschoolers. The eating in the absence of hunger task as well as parent-report of child satiety responsiveness and food responsiveness were used to assess child eating self-regulation. Two laboratory tasks assessing executive functioning, a parent questionnaire assessing child effortful control (a temperament dimension related to executive functioning), and the delay of gratification and gift delay tasks assessing child emotion regulation were used to assess child non-eating self-regulation. Bivariate correlations were run among all variables in the study. Hierarchical linear regression analyses assessed: (1) child eating self-regulation associations with the demographic, executive functioning, effortful control, and emotion regulation measures; and (2) child BMI z-score associations with executive functioning, effortful control, emotion regulation measures, and eating self-regulation measures. Within child eating self-regulation, only the two parent-report measures were related. Low to moderate positive correlations were found between measures of executive functioning, effortful control, and emotion regulation. Only three relationships were found between child eating self-regulation and other forms of child self-regulation: eating in the absence of hunger was positively associated with delay of gratification, and poor regulation on the gift delay task was associated positively with maternal reports of food responsiveness and negatively with parent-reports of satiety responsiveness. Regression analyses showed that child eating self-regulation was associated with child BMIz but other forms of child self-regulation were not. Implications for understanding the role of self-regulation in the development of child obesity are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Appetite
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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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    ABSTRACT: A consideration of potential moderators can highlight intervention effects that are attenuated when investigating aggregate results. Differential susceptibility is one type of interaction, where susceptible individuals have poorer outcomes in negative environments and better outcomes in positive environments, compared to less susceptible individuals, who have moderate outcomes regardless of environment. In the current study, we provide rationale for investigating this type of interaction in the context of a behavioral childhood obesity preventive intervention and test whether infant negativity moderated intervention effects on infant self-regulation and weight gain and on two aspects of mothers' parenting competence: parenting self-efficacy and parenting satisfaction. Results showed that infants' negative temperament at 3 weeks moderated intervention effects on some, but not all, outcomes. The intervention led to greater parenting satisfaction in mothers with highly negative infants but did not affect parenting satisfaction in mothers with less negative infants, consistent with a model of differential susceptibility. There was also a trend toward less weight gain in highly negative intervention group infants. In contrast, there was a main effect of the intervention on infant self-regulation at 1 year, such that the intervention group had higher observed self-regulation, across levels of infant negativity. Results support the importance of incorporating tests of moderation into evaluations of obesity interventions and also illustrate that individuals may be differentially susceptible to environmental effects on some outcomes but not others.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Prevention Science
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