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

Authors:
Anna Fogel
Anna Fogel
School of Psychology
Keri McCrickerd
Keri McCrickerd
School of Psychology
United Kingdom
Lisa R Fries
Lisa R Fries
Nestlé Research Center
Ai Ting Goh
Ai Ting Goh
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre
Houston | United States
Phaik Ling Quah
Phaik Ling Quah
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
Mei Jun Chan
Mei Jun Chan
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Jia Ying Toh
Jia Ying Toh
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
Yap-Seng Chong

Physiol Behav 2018 08 30;192:82-89. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National University Health System, Singapore; Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Electronic address:

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/.

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Source
https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S00319384183016
Publisher Site
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.03.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020992PMC
August 2018
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