3 years ago

Behavioral Associations with Overweight in Low-Income Children

Julie Sturza, Julie C. Lumeng, Alison L. Miller, Leonard H. Epstein, Ashley N. Gearhardt, Niko Kaciroti
Objective Food reinforcement (relative reinforcement value [RRV]), self-control (the ability to delay gratification [ATDG]), and eating outside of homeostatic need (eating in the absence of hunger [EAH]) are associated with overweight/obesity. These constructs have typically been studied in isolation in children, and little is known about how they interrelate and whether these associations differ by sex. The objective of this study is to investigate these associations by sex. Methods In a low-income sample of 230 7- to 10-year-old children, RRV, ATDG, and EAH were assessed. The model showing that elevated RRV, lower ATDG, and greater EAH are each independent, direct predictors of overweight in middle childhood was separately tested by sex. It was predicted that greater RRV and less ATDG would also have indirect effects on overweight through EAH. The association between RRV and ATDG was investigated. Results For girls, higher RRV was indirectly associated with overweight through EAH. For boys, no associations of RRV, ATDG, or EAH with overweight were significant. Finally, for girls, RRV and ATDG were significantly positively associated. Conclusions In girls, higher food reinforcement appears to be an important contributor to overweight. During middle childhood, ATDG may be assessing food reinforcement rather than self-control. Future studies are needed to identify the mechanisms underlying childhood overweight in boys.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/oby.22033

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