Eating behaviors of children in the context of their family environment.
Sommaire de l'article
Both a family history of obesity and early childhood obesity have been identified as strong predictors of adult obesity risk. The finding that parental obesity, maternal obesity in particular, increases a child’s risk for developing obesity suggests that either shared genes, or environment, or likely a combination of both may promote overeating and excessive weight gain in children. Parents not only create food environments for children’s early experiences with food and eating, but they also influence their children’s eating by modeling their own eating behaviors, taste preferences, and food choices. Thus, it is important to identify intermediary behavioral eating traits which promote overeating and obesity in children and to determine the extent to which associations between eating traits and excessive weight gain in children may be influenced by genetic factors, environmental factors, or both. Behavioral genetic methods can be used to help partition genetic and environmental sources of variability in behavioral traits. The focus of this paper is to review and discuss findings from both short-term experimental and prospective cohort studies on eating behaviors of children at various stages in their lives. Select child eating traits and parent-child resemblances in eating will be further examined in the context of children’s home environment and their familial predisposition to obesity. The paper represents an invited review by a symposium, award winner or keynote speaker at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior [SSIB] Annual Meeting in Portland, July 2009.