Parental obesity moderates the relationship between childhood appetitive traits and weight


  • Funding agencies: R01 DK064986 (T.O.), R01 DK064986S (T.O. and B.F.F.), and K07CA124905 (B.F.F.).

  • Disclosures: Drs. B.F. Fuemmeler, C.A. Lovelady, N.L. Zucker, and T. Østbye have received funding from the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, Dr. T. Østbye has received consulting fees from Eli Lilly and Astra/Zeneca.



In this study, the independent and combined associations between childhood appetitive traits and parental obesity on weight gain from 0 to 24 months and body mass index (BMI) z-score at 24 months in a diverse community-based sample of dual parent families (n = 213) were examined.

Design and Methods:

Participants were mothers who had recently completed a randomized trial of weight loss for overweight/obese postpartum women. As measures of childhood appetitive traits, mothers completed subscales of the Children's Eating Behavior Questionnaire, including Desire to Drink (DD), Enjoyment of Food (EF), and Satiety Responsiveness (SR), and a 24-h dietary recall for their child. Heights and weights were measured for all children and mothers and self-reported for mothers' partners. The relationship between children's appetitive traits and parental obesity on toddler weight gain and BMI z-score were evaluated using multivariate linear regression models, controlling for a number of potential confounders.


Having two obese parents was related to greater weight gain from birth to 24 months independent of childhood appetitive traits, and although significant associations were found between appetitive traits (DD and SR) and child BMI z-score at 24 months, these associations were observed only among children who had two obese parents. When both parents were obese, increasing DD and decreasing SR were associated with a higher BMI z-score.


The results highlight the importance of considering familial risk factors when examining the relationship between childhood appetitive traits on childhood obesity.