THE INFLUENCE OF CHILD WEIGHT STATUS, FOOD-CONSUMING BEHAVIORS, CHILD SEX, AND LOSS OF CONTROLLED EATING UPON EATING IN THE ABSENCE OF HUNGER IN 7-11 YEAR-OLD CHILDREN

Open Access
Author:
Caprio, Arimani M
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Biology and Nutritional Sciences
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kathleen Loralee Keller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rebecca L Corwin, Honors Advisor
  • James Marden, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Food-consuming Behaviors
  • Nutrition
  • Children
  • Eating in the Absence of Hunger
  • Loss of Control Eating
  • EAH
  • LOC Eating
  • Child Weight Status
Abstract:
The purpose of this thesis project was to provide information about the relationship between child weight status, loss of control eating (LOC), and food intake during eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) while at the same time identifying behaviors that may predict EAH in 44, 7-11 year-old children (mean age = 9.00; SD = ±1.31). Twenty of the subjects were boys and twenty-four were girls (healthy weight = 25; overweight/obese = 19). EAH was measured as children’s intake from a selection of highly palatable snack foods served when they were not hungry, after consumption of a multi-item meal to reported satiety. The main outcome was number of calories children consumed during the EAH protocol. The secondary outcome was time spent engaged in eating versus non-eating activities (i.e. playing) during the EAH protocol. Noldus Observer XT 10 software was used to record and analyze behaviors (i.e. sitting versus standing, gazing at food versus gazing elsewhere, eating versus playing with toys) of the subjects during both food intake and nonfood intake intervals of EAH. Noldus allowed for the manual coding of these behaviors in terms of their duration, consistency, and repetition. Children were screened for LOC using the LOC eating disorder questionnaire, developed by Tanofsky-Kraff et al. (2008). Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 22 for Windows. Descriptive statistics were generated for subject demographics and Pearson’s two-tailed, bivariate correlations were calculated to examine the independent relationships between EAH intake, BMI z-score, child sex, the food-consuming behaviors, and child-reported LOC. Furthermore, several linear and stepwise multivariate regression analyses were calculated to analyze the effect of BMI z-score, child sex, the food-consuming behaviors, and child-reported LOC on intake. The findings of this thesis demonstrate an association between several food-consuming behaviors and EAH intake. The more time that a child spent sitting versus standing (Sit > Stand), gazing at food versus gazing elsewhere (G food > G else), and eating versus playing with toys (E at > P lay) were positively associated with amount of food consumed during EAH. Sit > Stand positively predicted 13.0% of the variance in intake, G food > G else positively predicted 33.7% of the variance in intake, and E at > P lay positively predicted 46.3% of the variance in intake. In addition, child BMI z-score and reported LOC did not predict EAH intake, nor did child sex significantly influence any of the proposed relationships. These findings suggest that specific, food-consuming behaviors observed during EAH (including sitting, gazing at food, and eating) can help us to predict increased energy consumed in the absence of reported hunger. This knowledge may aide in our understanding of the mechanisms that drive increased food intake in children.