Posted by Nisha Bhatia on May 13, 2009

Researchers from the Rutgers University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences said parents poorly apprehend the food requirements of their children and that’s why they tend to over stuff their children.

The signs of obesity may not be visible immediately, but as children grow they develop obesity over the years, especially during the teen age.

How researchers conducted the study
96 African American and Hispanic mothers participated in the study. Feeding habits of all the participant mothers and the weight of their children were observed at the interval of 3, 6 and 12 months.

The researchers closely studied the feeding diaries and evolution chart of each kid, in terms of weight, for further clarifications.

They also took into account the socio-economic and developmental factors in the mothers (for the 3-month interval), including birth weight, gender, race or ethnicity, maternal age and education, country of origin, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, and weight gain during pregnancy, in order to find out the accurate results.

What the researchers found out
The experts found no weight gain in children in 0-to-3-month and 3-to-6-month intervals as mother refrained from over-feeding their newborns.

However, during the 6-to-12-month interval, mothers were found to be highly inclined towards over-feeding their infants as they constantly failed to predict satiety cues in their infants and continued to over-feed them.

As per the researchers, this led to weight gain in children, who later became either overweight or obese.

Interpreting the findings
According to the study authors, “More frequent feedings, particularly with formula, are an easy culprit on which to assign blame.

“But maternal sensitivity to the infant's feeding state, as reflected by the Feeding Scale scores, suggests that an unwillingness to slow the pace of feeding or terminate the feeding when the infant shows satiation cues may be overriding the infant's ability to self-regulate its intake.”

The study researchers noted that parents constantly urged their little ones to consume more than they needed to, which made infants’ bodies accustomed to storing excess food leading, also, the tissues to accumulate and retain fat.

Once, this condition was set up in the early years, diets and surgeries are the only ways left for removing the body fat in later years. But only a few people could stick to this kind of commitment, they added.

They further stated that since obese people are conditioned to eat more per meal from childhood it is psychologically difficult to for them to eat smaller meals to lose weight.

The study was published in the May/June issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.



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