Associations between appetitive traits, dietary patterns and weight status of children attending the School Kids Intervention Program

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Background: The nexus between appetitive traits, dietary patterns and weight status has predominantly been studied in a mixed sample (healthy weight, overweight and obese sample). Aim: This cross-sectional study examined associations between overweight/obese children’s appetitive traits, dietary patterns and weight status. Methods: We studied children (N = 58, body mass index z-score: 2.25±0.46), 4–12 years attending the School Kids Intervention Program. Children’s appetitive traits and dietary patterns were measured with the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire and Children’s Dietary Questionnaire, respectively. Children’s height and weight were used to compute body mass index z-score; waist circumference was also measured and waist-to-height ratio was calculated. Results: After controlling for children’s age and gender, hierarchical linear regression analyses showed that lower scores for slowness in eating were associated with higher body mass index z-scores in children (β = −0.31, p = 0.01). Higher scores for emotional overeating were associated with higher waist-to-height ratio in children (β = 0.48, p = 0.01). Higher scores for fussiness were correlated with lower scores for fruits and vegetables (β = −0.59, p < 0.001) and higher scores for non-core foods (β = 0.26, p = 0.04). Conclusion: Results observed in the current sample of overweight and obese children are consistent with previous studies examining healthy-weight children. Slowness in eating may foster an obesity ‘protective’ effect, whereas emotional overeating may promote susceptibility to weight gain. Fussy eating may impair diet quality by lower consumption of vegetables and fruits and higher intake of non-core foods. This evidence will support dietitians to consider children’s appetitive traits when providing dietary consultation to support obesity management among overweight/obese children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition and Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020


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