Meal Frequency and Childhood Obesity

Division of Pediatric Epidemiology, Institute of Social Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Heiglhofstrasse 63, Germany.
Obesity research (Impact Factor: 4.95). 12/2005; 13(11):1932-8. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2005.238
Source: PubMed


Previous studies have demonstrated an inverse association between meal frequency and the prevalence of obesity in adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between meal frequency and childhood obesity.
Stature and weight of 4,370 German children ages 5 to 6 years were determined in six Bavarian (Germany) public health offices during the obligatory school entry health examination in 2001/2002. An extensive questionnaire on risk factors for obesity was answered by their parents. Obesity was defined according to sex- and age-specific BMI cut-off points proposed by the International Obesity Task Force. The main exposure was daily meal frequency.
The prevalence of obesity decreased by number of daily meals: three or fewer meals, 4.2% [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.8 to 6.1]; four meals, 2.8% (95% CI, 2.1 to 3.7); and 5 or more meals, 1.7% (95% CI, 1.2 to 2.4). These effects could not be explained by confounding due to a wide range of constitutional, sociodemographic, and lifestyle factors. The adjusted odds ratios for obesity were 0.73 (95% CI, 0.44 to 1.21) for four meals and 0.51 (95% CI, 0.29 to 0.89) for five or more meals. Additional analyses pointed to a higher energy intake in nibblers compared with gorgers.
A protective effect of an increased daily meal frequency on obesity in children was observed and appeared to be independent of other risk factors for childhood obesity. A modulation of the response of hormones such as insulin might be instrumental.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "Pravidelný příjem jídla během dne je považován za výži­ vový faktor, který je nezávislým prediktorem přiměřené hmot­ nosti (Ma, 2003). Mezi hodnotou BMI a četností konzumo­ vaných jídel byl prokázán inverzní vztah u dospělých (Kant et al., 1995) i u dětí (Toschke et al., 2005; Ma, 2003). Jídlem, u kterého se uvádí největší metabolický efekt a vztah k udržo­ vání přiměřené hmotnosti je snídaně. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is no doubt that a healthy diet as well as regular physical activity are the key elements of a healthy lifestyle for both children and adults. The aim of the study was to compare the dietary habits of boys engaged in regular exercise with a nationwide sample of boys of the same age. The research sample included 105 young ice hockey players at the age of eleven, thirteen, and fifteen years. The reference data comes from the National Report of the international study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (HBSC). The dietary habits were measured using the Czech version of the self-report questionnaire of the HBSC study. The overall findings of this study suggest that there were non-significant differences in the dietary habits between groups at the ages of eleven and thirteen years. For the group of 15-year-old children significant differences in eating habits were found between the athletes and the control group. The young hockey players reported more regular mealtimes. They have breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack more often than their peers. From the present study it can be concluded that physical activity levels and eating habits do not diverge between 11-year-old and 13-year-old adolescent athletes and the control group. The changes occur at the age of fifteen when athletes do not only exercise regularly, but also eat more regularly compared with their peers.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
    • "In a review of several studies among children aged 5 to < 7 years and 10–17 years, Koletzo and Toschke (2010) concluded that irregular meal patterns may increase the risk of obesity in children. An identified risk factor for childhood overweight and obesity among school children is watching TV (Toschke et al. 2005) and among infants is consumption of formula milk (Ziegler 2006; Dewey et al. 1993). As the prevalence of over-nutrition is now higher in some low-income countries than in high-income countries (Popkin 2003), assessing the feeding practices among parents and alternate caregivers of overweight children in developing countries is of increasing interest. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study aims to explore the feeding practices in families of working and nonworking mothers with children (aged 12-36 months) of different nutritional status and types of domestic caregiver in Indonesian urban middle class families. It was designed as a qualitative multiple case study. Mothers and caregivers from 26 families were interviewed in depth, and caregivers were categorized as family and domestic-paid caregivers. The result suggested that offering formula milk to young children was a common practice, and there was a high recognition and familiarity toward a range of formula milk brands. Mothers reported challenges in encouraging their children to eat, and in some cases they appeared to lack knowledge on overcoming their child's feeding problem. The findings suggested the need to address the child feeding problems experienced by mothers in order to overcome the double burden of child nutrition in Indonesia.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Ecology of Food and Nutrition
  • Source
    • "For instance conjugated linoleic acid isomers (found in organic dairy and meat products) can prevent fat deposition in some human trials (Racine et al., 2010) and these are increased in the breast-milk if the mother has a high dietary intake (Rist et al., 2007). Even the frequency of feeding may also affect the baby's risk of developing obesity (Erlanson-Albertsson and Zetterstrom, 2005; Toschke et al., 2005), as can the timing of the introduction of formula or solid food (Seach et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Feeding behavior is closely regulated by neuroendocrine mechanisms that can be influenced by stressful life events. However, the feeding response to stress varies among individuals with some increasing and others decreasing food intake after stress. In addition to the impact of acute lifestyle and genetic backgrounds, the early life environment can have a life-long influence on neuroendocrine mechanisms connecting stress to feeding behavior and may partially explain these opposing feeding responses to stress. In this review I will discuss the perinatal programming of adult hypothalamic stress and feeding circuitry. Specifically I will address how early life (prenatal and postnatal) nutrition, early life stress, and the early life hormonal profile can program the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the endocrine arm of the body's response to stress long-term and how these changes can, in turn, influence the hypothalamic circuitry responsible for regulating feeding behavior. Thus, over- or under-feeding and/or stressful events during critical windows of early development can alter glucocorticoid (GC) regulation of the HPA axis, leading to changes in the GC influence on energy storage and changes in GC negative feedback on HPA axis-derived satiety signals such as corticotropin-releasing-hormone. Furthermore, peripheral hormones controlling satiety, such as leptin and insulin are altered by early life events, and can be influenced, in early life and adulthood, by stress. Importantly, these neuroendocrine signals act as trophic factors during development to stimulate connectivity throughout the hypothalamus. The interplay between these neuroendocrine signals, the perinatal environment, and activation of the stress circuitry in adulthood thus strongly influences feeding behavior and may explain why individuals have unique feeding responses to similar stressors.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Frontiers in Neuroscience
Show more