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Eating in the absence of hunger: Stability over time and associations with eating behaviours and body composition in children

Eating in the absence of hunger: Stability over time and associations with eating behaviours and body composition in children
Eating in the absence of hunger: Stability over time and associations with eating behaviours and body composition in children
Background/objectives:

Eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) has been linked to obesity in adults and children. This study examined the stability of EAH in children between 4.5 and 6 years old, and associations with energy intake and portion selection, as well as cross-sectional and prospective associations with body composition.

Methods:

The participants were 158 boys and girls from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort. At ages 4.5 and 6 years old children were provided lunch ad libitum, and immediately afterwards were exposed to palatable snacks to measure energy intake in the absence of hunger. At age 6 children completed an additional computer-based task to measure ideal portion size, where they selected pictures of the portions they would like to eat across eight foods. Measures of anthropometry (height/weight/skinfolds) were collected at both ages.

Results:

Children who consumed energy during the EAH task at age 4.5 years were 3 times more likely to also do so at age 6 years. Children with high EAH intakes at age 4.5 years had high EAH intakes at age 6, highlighting stability of this behaviour over time. Energy consumed at lunch was unrelated to energy consumed during the EAH task, but children who ate in the absence of hunger cumulatively consumed more energy over lunch and the EAH task. Children who showed EAH tended to select larger ideal portions of foods during the computer task. EAH was not associated with measures of body composition.

Conclusions:

EAH is a stable behavioural risk factor for increased energy intake, but was not associated with body composition in this cohort. The majority of children ate in the absence of hunger, suggesting that interventions aimed at reducing responsiveness to external food cues could help to reduce energy intakes.

Trial Registry Number: NCT01174875; https://clinicaltrials.gov/.
0031-9384
Fogel, Anna
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McCrickerd, Keri
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Fries, Lisa
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Goh, Ai Ting
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Quah, Phaik Ling
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Chan, Mei Jun
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Toh, Jia Ying
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Chong, Yap-Seng
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Tan, Kok Hian
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Yap, Fabian
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Shek, Lynette P.
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Meaney, Michael J.
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Broekman, Birit F.P.
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Lee, Yung Sueng
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Godfrey, Keith M.
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Chong, Mary F.F.
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Forde, Ciaran G.
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Fogel, Anna
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McCrickerd, Keri
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Fries, Lisa
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Goh, Ai Ting
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Quah, Phaik Ling
8fae651e-c572-4d04-8708-e66af6caec7e
Chan, Mei Jun
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Toh, Jia Ying
a46b9259-cbbf-41ba-b8ba-536b66e0b28a
Chong, Yap-Seng
7043124b-e892-4d4b-8bb7-6d35ed94e136
Tan, Kok Hian
4714c94d-334a-42ad-b879-f3aa3a931def
Yap, Fabian
92843bb8-1c32-46d7-a778-92b2e655e533
Shek, Lynette P.
ff5b44bf-5ab5-4249-8cf1-21751a4f6ae8
Meaney, Michael J.
5c6db45a-1f5b-4e1f-8c0b-07a8f7b29f66
Broekman, Birit F.P.
a0d96900-4c12-42ee-94a5-bf315ce705c1
Lee, Yung Sueng
1bdb54fb-dd29-4857-8939-f4b0fba309b8
Godfrey, Keith M.
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Chong, Mary F.F.
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Forde, Ciaran G.
d7c8e663-af79-4499-b1b4-27bba76abec6

Fogel, Anna, McCrickerd, Keri, Fries, Lisa, Goh, Ai Ting, Quah, Phaik Ling, Chan, Mei Jun, Toh, Jia Ying, Chong, Yap-Seng, Tan, Kok Hian, Yap, Fabian, Shek, Lynette P., Meaney, Michael J., Broekman, Birit F.P., Lee, Yung Sueng, Godfrey, Keith M., Chong, Mary F.F. and Forde, Ciaran G. (2018) Eating in the absence of hunger: Stability over time and associations with eating behaviours and body composition in children. Physiology & Behavior. (doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.03.033).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background/objectives:

Eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) has been linked to obesity in adults and children. This study examined the stability of EAH in children between 4.5 and 6 years old, and associations with energy intake and portion selection, as well as cross-sectional and prospective associations with body composition.

Methods:

The participants were 158 boys and girls from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort. At ages 4.5 and 6 years old children were provided lunch ad libitum, and immediately afterwards were exposed to palatable snacks to measure energy intake in the absence of hunger. At age 6 children completed an additional computer-based task to measure ideal portion size, where they selected pictures of the portions they would like to eat across eight foods. Measures of anthropometry (height/weight/skinfolds) were collected at both ages.

Results:

Children who consumed energy during the EAH task at age 4.5 years were 3 times more likely to also do so at age 6 years. Children with high EAH intakes at age 4.5 years had high EAH intakes at age 6, highlighting stability of this behaviour over time. Energy consumed at lunch was unrelated to energy consumed during the EAH task, but children who ate in the absence of hunger cumulatively consumed more energy over lunch and the EAH task. Children who showed EAH tended to select larger ideal portions of foods during the computer task. EAH was not associated with measures of body composition.

Conclusions:

EAH is a stable behavioural risk factor for increased energy intake, but was not associated with body composition in this cohort. The majority of children ate in the absence of hunger, suggesting that interventions aimed at reducing responsiveness to external food cues could help to reduce energy intakes.

Trial Registry Number: NCT01174875; https://clinicaltrials.gov/.

Text
M5 EAH BC Fogel Forde 2018 Final - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 28 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419294
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419294
ISSN: 0031-9384
PURE UUID: a17795ff-48c8-496a-ac4f-15ea43c5553d
ORCID for Keith M. Godfrey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4643-0618

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 05:28

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