Do Appetite Traits Mediate the Link Between Birth Weight and Later Child Weight in Low-Income Hispanic Families?

Sarvenaz Vandyousefi, Mary Jo Messito, Marc A. Scott, Rachel S. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Birth weight and appetite traits (ATs) are important early life determinants of child weight and obesity. Objectives: The aim of this study is to examine whether (1) birth weight-for-gestational age z-scores (BWGAzs) were associated with ATs at child age 2 years and (2) ATs mediated the link between BWGAzs and weight-for-age z-scores (WFAzs) at child ages 3 and 4 years among Hispanic children. Methods: We conducted a secondary longitudinal analysis of data from the Starting Early Program of low-income, Hispanic mother–child pairs. ATs were assessed using the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire at age 2 years. Child birth weight was obtained from medical records. Birth weight, sex, and gestational age were used to generate BWGAzs with Fenton growth curves. WFAz was calculated based on the CDC 2000 growth charts. Regression and mediation analyses were used to explore associations between BWGAzs, ATs, and WFAzs. Results: Infants with higher BWGAzs had significantly lower Satiety Responsiveness (B = -0.10) and Food Fussiness (B = -0.13) scores at age 2 years and higher WFAzs at ages 3 (B = 0.44) and 4 (B = 0.34) years. Lower Satiety Responsiveness at age 2 years was associated with higher WFAzs at ages 3 (B = -0.11) and 4 (B = -0.34; all p < 0.01) years. Lower Satiety Responsiveness partially mediated the positive relationship between birth weight and child WFAzs at ages 3 and 4 years. Conclusions: Children with higher birth weight and lower Satiety Responsiveness scores may be at higher risk of developing obesity in childhood. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms through which birth weight influences child appetite. Clinical Trial Registration:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • Hispanic
  • appetite traits
  • birth weight
  • childhood obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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