Temperament and Parenting: Risks for Rapid Weight Gain and Childhood Obesity

Project: Research project

Project Details


Obesity in childhood is increasing at an alarming rate. For children ages 2-5 years, the prevalence of overweight children has almost tripled over the last 30 years, from 5% to 13.9%, Obesity is a multifactorial condition with varying causes including genetic, social, cultural, and behavioral factors, all of which may interact. The aims of the present proposal are to examine a number of these factors and their role in rapid weight gain in infancy and overweight in early childhood. We propose to investigate the interaction between genetically-based child characteristics and early parent feeding practices as risk factors for childhood obesity. More specifically, the parent feeding practices of using food to soothe infant distress is explicitly to interact with the temperament trait of urgency, which is characterized by a sensitive reward system, to increase the risk of childhood obesity. This hypothesis is guided by the central principle of the proposed study;that temperament is linked to health and adjustment either indirectly by evoking parenting responses or through interactions with parenting behaviors that may either buffer the negative defects or increase the risk for poor outcome. Toward this goal infant/toddler temperament and parenting will be assessed throughout the first l8 months of life using multiple methods including diaries, laboratory visit" telephone surveys and parent reports. Rapid weight gain in infancy and toddler weight are the proposed outcomes. Identifying modifiable factors present early in a child's life will contribute to more successful interventions aimed at reducing childhood and adult obesity.
Effective start/end date7/1/087/31/20


  • National Institutes of Health: $528,868.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $369,392.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $369,723.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $100,000.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $369,542.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $364,946.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $538,080.00

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