Controlling appetite could help in preventing childhood obesity
Two studies have revealed that heartier appetite could help in tackling obesity and affect more rapid infant growth.
The studies investigated how weight gain is linked to two key aspects of appetite, namely lower satiety responsiveness, which is a reduced urge to eat in response to internal 'fullness' signals, and higher food responsiveness which is an increased urge to eat in response to the sight or smell of nice food.
The first paper, which used data from non-identical, same-sex twins born in the UK in 2007, found that infants with a heartier appetite grew more rapidly up to age 15 months, potentially putting them at increased risk for obesity.
The second paper in collaboration with King's College London, which was based on accessed data from 2,258 10-year-old children born in the UK between 1994 and 1996, focused on the way that appetite, particularly low satiety responsiveness, acts as one of the mechanisms underlying genetic predisposition to obesity.
Professor Jane Wardle, lead author of the study from the UCL Health Behaviour Research Centre said that obesity is a major issue in child health and identifying factors that promote or protect against weight gain could help identify targets for obesity intervention and prevention in future.
She added that these findings are extremely powerful and might make life easy to have a baby with a hearty appetite, and that parents may need to be alert for tendencies to be somewhat over-responsive to food cues in the environment, or somewhat unresponsive to fullness.
The studies are published in JAMA Pediatrics.
(Posted on 18-02-2014)