Nav: Home

Children's self-control is associated with their body mass index as adults

August 16, 2012

Cincinnati, OH, August 16, 2012 - As adults, we know that self-control and delaying gratification are important for making healthful eating choices, portion control, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, exhibiting these skills at a young age actually may affect weight later in life. A new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that delaying gratification longer at 4 years of age is associated with having a lower body mass index (BMI) 30 years later.

Between 1968 and 1974, 653 4-year-olds completed a delay of gratification test, in which the children were given one treat, such as a cookie or a marshmallow, and were told that they would be given a second treat if they could wait to eat the first treat for an unspecified length of time (it ended up being 15 minutes). (A video of children trying to delay gratification can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EjJsPylEOY.) Follow-up studies found that delaying gratification for a longer time as a preschooler was associated with adolescent academic strength, social competence, planfulness, ability to handle stress, and higher SAT scores. According to Tanya R, Schlam, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, "Interventions can improve young children's self-control, which may decrease children's risk of becoming overweight and may have further positive effects on other outcomes important to society (general health, financial stability, and a reduced likelihood of being convicted of a crime)."

To further assess the adult benefits of childhood self-control, Dr. Tanya Schlam and colleagues from University of Washington, Columbia University, and University of California, Berkeley, followed-up with study participants (164 responded; 57% female), who are now in their mid-30s, to assess their current BMI (an indicator of body fat), which was cross-referenced with how they did on the delay of gratification test as children. The researchers found that each minute a child delayed gratification predicted a 0.2 decrease in adult BMI. Only 24% of the respondents were overweight and 9% were obese, which is lower than the 2008 national adult average of 34% overweight and another 34% obese.

Fortunately, self-control can be modified and improved. Because large portions and tempting, high-calorie foods usually are readily available (often more so than healthy foods), developing high self-control and ability to delay gratification, along with using other strategies and interventions, can be helpful in regulating caloric intake and achieving a healthy weight, in both children and adults.
-end-


Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Overweight Articles:

Being overweight linked to longer life in older diabetics
Among older patients with diabetes, those who are overweight or obese may have a lower risk of dying prematurely than their normal weight counterparts.
Being overweight in childhood may heighten lifetime risk of depression
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity suggests that being overweight, especially from a young age, may substantially increase the lifetime risk of major depression.
Fewer overweight adults report trying to lose weight
Although weight gain has continued among US adults, fewer report trying to lose weight, according to a study appearing in the March 7 issue of JAMA.
Children gain more weight when parents see them as 'overweight'
Children whose parents considered them to be 'overweight' tended to gain more weight over the following decade compared with children whose parents thought they were a 'normal' weight, according to analyses of data from two nationally representative studies.
Overweight affects DNA methylation
The extra pounds you gain during the holidays will not only show up on your hips but will also affect your DNA.
Yo-yo dieting dangerous even if you're not overweight
Losing and regaining weight repeatedly, known as weight cycling or yo-yo dieting, may increase the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women.
Victims of childhood bullying more likely to be overweight as young adults
Children who are bullied in primary and secondary school are nearly twice as likely to be overweight at the age of 18 than non-bullied children, according to a new study by researchers from King's College London.
Skipping breakfast and not enough sleep can make children overweight
Mothers smoking in pregnancy, children skipping breakfast and not having a regular bedtime or sufficient sleep all appear to be important factors in predicting whether a child will become overweight or obese.
Being overweight linked to poorer memory
Overweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory -- the ability to recall past events -- than their peers, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, adding to increasing evidence of a link between memory and overeating.
Overweight men just as likely as overweight women to face discrimination
Men who are overweight are just as likely as overweight women to experience interpersonal discrimination when applying for a job or shopping at retail stores, according to new research from Rice University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Related Overweight Reading:

The Overweight Mind: The Undeniable Truth Behind Why You're Not Losing Weight
by Jay Nixon (Author)

You’re About to “Strike it Rich” In the Most Important Lottery on Earth…


What does it feel like to strike it rich in the world of health and wellness? Does it mean improved sleep? What about being able to walk longer, enjoy a day out at the lake, or just keep up with the family on a lazy weekend? Health is wealth, no way around it. Striking it rich in health is always on your terms. What would better health mean to you, right now? Hold on to that answer, because this book will help you get to that destination. 


So, let’s get to the... View Details


Overweight: What Kids Say: What's Really Causing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic
by Robert A. Pretlow MD (Author)

Overweight kids are seldom heard and poorly understood. This book presents what kids say about being overweight - their stories, struggles, and successes - in their own words. The source is 134,000 messages anonymously posted by overweight kids on website bulletin boards. With stunning honesty these kids share their difficult lives and their frustration with parents and health professionals. The degree to which these kids struggle to lose weight is striking. They turn to food to relieve depression, stress, and boredom. They get hooked on this 'comfort eating' and are unable to stop. They... View Details


Accidentally Overweight: The 9 Elements That Will Help You Solve Your Weight-Loss Puzzle
by Dr. Libby Weaver (Author)

"What leads the human body to get the message that it needs to store fat and what leads the human body to get the message that it needs to burn fat?" In a dynamic, fresh approach to weight loss, acclaimed nutritional biochemist Dr. Libby Weaver discusses the nine factors that cause us to either lose or gain weight. These factors include: calories, stress hormones, sex hormones, liver function, thyroid function, gut bacteria, insulin, alkalinity, and emotions. Let's face it - for many people it is not a lack of education that leads them to polish off a packet of chocolate biscuits after... View Details


Over 50, Overweight & Out Of Breath: A Year Of Going From Super Fat To Super Fit.
by Laura E. Sinclair (Author), Jean Boles (Designer)

This is a powerful and positive story about a quest for a change in life and the extraordinary possibilities of the human spirit. "Before I wrote this book, I was diagnosed as MORBIDLY OBESE by my primary-care physician following a yearly visit. The only problem with this diagnosis was that we never discussed this issue. I knew that I was overweight, but it wasn't until I witched doctors and picked up my medical records that I saw this in writing. I saw myself in front of the mirror every day, so I knew things were bad, but it wasn't until I read those words, MORBIDLY OBESE, that the gravity... View Details


Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life)
by Mark Cohen (Author)

In Overweight Sensation, Mark Cohen argues persuasively for Sherman's legacy as a touchstone of postwar humor and a turning point in Jewish American cultural history. With exclusive access to Allan Sherman's estate, Cohen has written the first biography of the manic, bacchanalian, and hugely creative artist who sold three million albums in just twelve months, yet died in obscurity a decade later at the age of forty-nine. Comprehensive, dramatic, stylish, and tragic, Overweight Sensation is destined to become the definitive Sherman biography. View Details


Overweight Kids in a Toothpick World: Easy Weight Loss for Teens and Children or A Nutritionist’s Step-by-Step Plan to Keep Childhood Obesity Facts From Making Your Kid a Childhood Obesity Statistic
by Brenda Wollenberg (Author)

If you are frustrated, saddened or overwhelmed with watching your child continue to carry excess weight despite you and your child's best efforts, Overweight Kids in a Toothpick World could be some of the most important information you'll ever read. If you are fed up with the swirl of theoretical and less than helpful information you see and hear around you on how to help your child reach optimal health, Overweight Kids in a Toothpick World could be the best way to move forward-gaining sound, practical knowledge and building health in your own household.

Overweight Kids in a Toothpick... View Details


Overweight, undertrained and terrified: A Camino Diary
by Connor O'Donoghue (Author)

This is the entertaining and sometimes inspirational story of one morbidly obese 35-year-old Irishman who decides to walk 708 kilometres across the Camino de Santiago, an ancient Christian pilgrimage in Northern Spain one summer. On the journey, he faces a variety of physical and mental obstacles. The book is written in diary format, at turns poignant and funny in a light, pacey style. View Details


Overweight: A Handbook for Teens and Parents
by Tania Heller (Author), Mohsen Ziai (Author)

With respect to both physical activity and nutrition, lifestyles of most young Americans have changed dramatically over time. Decades ago, young people often walked miles to attend school, visit friends, or even see a doctor. There was no television to watch, and no Internet to provide hours of visiting without leaving the house. Rather than choosing from an array of pre-packaged and highly processed foods, families tended to cook at home and spent time enjoying meals together.One of the unfortunate results of such lifestyle changes is a sharp rise in obesity, now being identified in a... View Details


Overweight Kids: Spiritual, Behavioral and Preventative Solutions
by Linda Mintle (Author)

Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World teaches parents how to raise healthy kids in an over scheduled, fast-food, video-game world by making simple choices, easy changes and instilling good habits that will improve everyone's life today and forever.

This positive, practical, and inspirational guide will help parents find spiritual and behavioral solutions to help their kids achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Acclaimed specialist, Dr. Linda Mintle, gives parents the information and encouragement they need to raise happy, healthy kids. As childhood... View Details


The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight -- and How to Get Your Life Back
by Amy Myers MD (Author)

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Autoimmune Solution, a comprehensive, accessible overview of thyroid problems that will help you learn to identify the warning signs and finally take back your health.

Are you exhausted all the time, plagued by brain fog, and unable to lose weight? Do you struggle with insomnia, panic attacks, and tremors? But does your doctor insist that your labs are normal, and that you just need to eat less and exercise more? As anyone who has been there knows, nothing is more frustrating, stressful, and emotionally draining... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Big Five
What are the five biggest global challenges we face right now — and what can we do about them? This hour, TED speakers explore some radical solutions to these enduring problems. Guests include geoengineer Tim Kruger, president of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband, political scientist Ian Bremmer, global data analyst Sarah Menker, and historian Rutger Bregman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#456 Inside a Conservation NGO
This week we take a close look at conservation NGOS: what they do, how they work, and - most importantly - why we need them. We'll be speaking with Shyla Raghav, the Climate Change Lead at Conservation International, about using strategy and policy to tackle climate change. Then we'll speak with Rebecca Shaw, Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, about how and why you should get involved with conservation initiatives.