Relationship between Impulsivity, Snack Consumption and Children's Weight

EWM Scholten, CTM (Carola) Schrijvers, C Nederkoorn, SPJ Kremers, G Rodenburg

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Childhood overweight is a public health problem associated with psychosocial and physical problems. Personality traits, such as impulsivity, may contribute to the development of overweight. Objective: This study examines 1) the association between general impulsivity traits (reward sensitivity and disinhibition) and children's weight, 2) the association between impulsivity traits and unhealthy snack consumption, and 3) the potential mediating role of unhealthy snack consumption in the relationship between impulsivity traits and children's weight. Methods: Included were 1,377 parent-child dyads participating in the IVO Nutrition and Physical Activity Child cohorT (INPACT). Children had a mean age of 10 years. Parents completed a questionnaire to measure children's unhealthy snack consumption. Children completed a door-opening task to assess reward sensitivity and completed a questionnaire to measure disinhibition. Children's height and weight were measured to calculate their BMI z-scores. Cross-sectional linear regression analyses were performed to test the associations. Results: Disinhibition was positively associated with unhealthy snack consumption but not with BMI z-scores. Reward sensitivity was not related to unhealthy snack consumption or to BMI z-scores. Conclusions: No evidence was found for a mediating effect of unhealthy snack consumption in the relation between impulsivity traits and children's weight. However, disinhibition appears to have a negative influence on children's unhealthy snack consumption. Future research focusing on food-related impulsivity in addition to general impulsivity will provide additional insight into factors that influence children's unhealthy snack consumption and weight.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPLoS One (print)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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