Background: Individual variations in child weight can be explained by genetic and behavioural susceptibility to obesity. Behavioural susceptibility can be expressed in appetite-related traits, e.g. food responsiveness. Research into such behavioural factors is important, as it can provide starting points for (preventive) interventions. Objectives: To examine associations of children's appetitive traits with weight and with fruit, snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake, and to examine whether parenting style interacts with appetite in determining child weight/intake. Methods: Data were used from 1275 children participating in the INPACT study in 2009-2010, with a mean age of 9 years in 2009. Their height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index (BMI). Parents completed a questionnaire to measure children's appetitive traits, children's dietary intake and parenting style. Child BMI z-scores, fruit, snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake were regressed on appetitive traits. Moderation by parenting style was tested by adding interaction terms to the regression analyses. Results: Food-approaching appetitive traits were positively, and food-avoidant appetitive traits were negatively related to child BMI z-scores and to child fruit intake. There were no or less consistent associations for snack and sugar-sweetened beverage intake. Authoritative parenting voided the negative association between food fussiness and fruit intake, while neglecting parenting strengthened the positive association between food-approaching appetitive traits and weight. Conclusions: Early assessment of appetitive traits could be used to identify children at risk for overweight. As parenting style can moderate the associations between appetitive traits and weight/intake in a favourable way, parents are a promising target group for preventive interventions aimed at influencing the effect of appetitive traits on children.

dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050642, hdl.handle.net/1765/62335
PLoS ONE
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rodenburg, G, Kremers, S.P.J, Oenema, A, & van de Mheen, H. (2012). Associations of Children's Appetitive Traits with Weight and Dietary Behaviours in the Context of General Parenting. PLoS ONE, 7(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050642