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Objective: Increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and associated risks of adult type disease have led to worldwide concern. It remains unclear how genetic predisposition, environmental exposure to obesogenic food, and developmental programming interact to lead to overweight and obese children. The development of a nonhuman primate model of obesity, and particularly juvenile obesity, is an important step to elucidating the factors associated with obesity and evaluating intervention strategies.

Design and Methods: Infant marmosets were followed from birth to 12 months of age. Feeding phenotypes were determined through the use of behavioral observation, solid food intake trials, and liquid feeding trials monitored via lickometer.

Results: Marmosets found to be obese at 12 months of age (more than 14%body fat) start consuming solid food sooner and initiate more time off of care givers. These individuals developed stable feeding phenotypes that included being more efficient consumers during liquid intake trials, drinking more grams of diet per contact with the licksit.

Conclusions: The weaning process appears to be particularly important in the development of feeding phenotypes and the development of juvenile obesity for the marmosets, and thus this is the time that should be focused upon for intervention testing in both nonhuman primates and children.