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Genetics of Food Intake Self-Regulation in Childhood: Literature Review and Research Opportunities

Faith M.S.a · Carnell S.b · Kral T.V.E.c

Author affiliations

aDepartment of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C., bDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., and cDepartment of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., USA

Corresponding Author

Myles S. Faith

Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2204 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB 7461

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7461 (USA)

E-Mail mfaith@unc.edu

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Hum Hered 2013;75:80-89

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Pediatric obesity results from a daily energy imbalance between intake and expenditure, an imbalance potentially as slight as ∼30-50 kcal/day (e.g., a few extra sips of cola or bites of a cookie). That an ‘energy gap' so small may be so powerful suggests the importance of understanding mechanisms of food intake self-regulation (FISR). This review focuses on 4 behavioral indices of FISR in childhood: (1) eating in the absence of hunger; (2) eating rate; (3) caloric compensation and satiety responsiveness, and (4) food responsiveness. Evidence from pediatric samples around the world indicates that these traits are associated with body mass index, are heritable, and are linked to polymorphisms in the FTO gene. We review these data, also discussing their relevance to practical issues of parental feeding styles, portion sizes, and health literacy and numeracy. Research gaps and opportunities for future investigation are discussed. Multidisciplinary approaches and study designs that can address gene-environment interactions are needed to advance the science of FISR and stimulate new avenues for childhood obesity prevention.

© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

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Published online: September 27, 2013
Issue release date: September 2013

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0001-5652 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0062 (Online)

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