Infant and Early Child Appetite Traits and Child Weight and Obesity Risk in Low-Income Hispanic Families

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Child appetite traits (ATs) are associated with later child weight and obesity risk. Less research has focused on ATs in low-income Hispanic children or included longitudinal associations with infant weight.

OBJECTIVE: To determine stability of ATs during infancy and childhood and their relationship with subsequent weight and obesity risk at age 3 years among low-income Hispanic children.

DESIGN: A secondary longitudinal analysis of data from the Starting Early Program randomized controlled obesity prevention trial.

PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Three hundred twenty-two low-income, Hispanic mother-child pairs enrolled between 2012 and 2014 in a public hospital in New York City.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: ATs, including Slowness in Eating, Satiety Responsiveness, Food Responsiveness, and Enjoyment of Food were assessed using the Baby and Child Eating Behavior Questionnaires at ages 3 months, 2 years, and 3 years. Main outcome measures were child standardized weight-for-age z score (WFAz) and obesity risk (WFA≥95th percentile) at age 3 years.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: AT stability was assessed using correlations and multilevel modeling. Linear and logistic regression analyses examined associations between ATs and child WFAz and obesity risk at age 3 years.

RESULTS: There was limited stability for all ATs measured over time. During infancy, Slowness in Eating was associated with lower 3-year WFAz (B = -0.18, 95% CI -0.33 to -0.04; P = 0.01). At age 2 years, Slowness in Eating and Satiety Responsiveness were associated with lower WFAz (B = -0.29, 95% CI -0.47 to -0.12; P < 0.01; B = -0.36, 95% CI -0.55 to -0.17; P < 0.01) and obesity risk (adjusted odds ratio 0.49, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.85; adjusted odds ratio 0.61, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.99) at 3 years. Increased Slowness in Eating and Satiety Responsiveness over time were associated with lower 3-year WFAz (B = -0.74, 95% CI -1.18 to -0.2 [Slowness in Eating]; B = -1.19, 95% CI -1.87 to -0.52 [Satiety Responsiveness], both P values = 0.001). Higher Enjoyment of Food over time was associated with higher 3-year WFAz (B = 0.62, 95% CI 0.24 to 1.01; P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Infants with lower Slowness in Eating and Satiety Responsiveness may have higher levels of obesity risk and need more tailored approaches to nutrition counseling and obesity prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2220
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Appetite traits
  • BEBQ
  • CEBQ
  • Childhood obesity
  • Hispanic
  • Satiety Response
  • Humans
  • Child, Preschool
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Feeding Behavior/ethnology
  • New York City
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Poverty/ethnology
  • Female
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pediatric Obesity/ethnology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Appetite/ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino/psychology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Eating/ethnology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Child Behavior/ethnology
  • Longitudinal Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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