Impulsive Children Eat Food Faster and Are at Higher Risk of Obesity

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

Parents with impulsive children may want to keep a close eye on their weight. A recent study reveals impulsive kids tend to eat faster than their more introverted peers and are therefore more likely to become obese. A team from the University of Buffalo adds their research found that impulsive children are also more likely to have greater urges to eat when food is sitting in front of them.

“Temperament is linked to many child developmental and behavioral outcomes, yet despite emerging evidence, few studies have examined its relationship with pediatric obesity,” says Robert Berkowitz, MD, emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Research Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in a university release.

The research team studied 28 participants from a family intervention program that encourages slower eating behaviors for four to eight-year-old children at high risk for obesity. They studied each child’s internal food cues, such as the feeling of fullness from a meal, and external food cues including their response to seeing, smelling, or tasting food, and how fast they ate food. The eating cues were studied in relation to a child’s personality, self-control, impulsivity, and their ability to manage negative emotions.

Results showed that children who felt full had more self-control to not overeat. Children who were slow eaters were also less likely to be extroverted or impulsive.

More research exploring the relationship between impulsivity and food cues should also focus on understanding their temporal relationship. In other words, it is still unknown whether it’s impulsivity that’s driving bad eating habits or bad eating habits that reinforce impulsive behavior.

The findings appear in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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