Associations of Children's Appetitive Traits with Weight and Dietary Behaviours in the Context of General Parenting

G Rodenburg, SPJ Kremers, A Oenema, Dike Mheen

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Background: Individual variations in child weight can be explained by genetic and behavioural susceptibility to obesity. Behavioural susceptibility can be expressed in appetite-related traits, e.g. food responsiveness. Research into such behavioural factors is important, as it can provide starting points for (preventive) interventions. Objectives: To examine associations of children's appetitive traits with weight and with fruit, snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake, and to examine whether parenting style interacts with appetite in determining child weight/intake. Methods: Data were used from 1275 children participating in the INPACT study in 2009-2010, with a mean age of 9 years in 2009. Their height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index (BMI). Parents completed a questionnaire to measure children's appetitive traits, children's dietary intake and parenting style. Child BMI z-scores, fruit, snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake were regressed on appetitive traits. Moderation by parenting style was tested by adding interaction terms to Results: Food-approaching appetitive traits were positively, and food-avoidant appetitive traits were negatively related to child BMI z-scores and to child fruit intake. There were no or less consistent associations for snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake. Authoritative parenting voided the negative association between food fussiness and fruit intake, while neglecting parenting strengthened the positive association between food-approaching appetitive traits and weight. Conclusions: Early assessment of appetitive traits could be used to identify children at risk for overweight. As parenting style can moderate the associations between appetitive traits and weight/intake in a favourable way, parents are a promising target group for preventive interventions aimed at influencing the effect of appetitive traits on children. Citation: Rodenburg G, Kremers SPJ, Oenema A, van de Mheen D (2012) Associations of Children's Appetitive Traits with Weight and Dietary Behavio
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPLoS One (print)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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