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Keywords:

  • Adolescents;
  • obesity;
  • satiety reflex;
  • slow eating

Summary

Objective

Our aim is to determine the effect of paced eating, exposure to an educational programme that promotes healthy eating habits and allowing the satiety reflex to limit food intake in controlling weight gain in healthy adolescents.

Methods

Fifty-four healthy individuals consisting of 18 adolescent girls and 36 boys aged 12 ± 2 years were given recommendations for reducing eating rate without changing diet or meal size according to the educational programme ‘good manners for a healthy future’. Each participant was provided with a 30-s portable hourglass to pace time between bites. Individuals using and not using the hourglass were placed either into an ‘adhering’ or a ‘non-adhering’ group, respectively. Control data were obtained from a similar population.

Results

Initially, the adhering group had higher weight compared with the non-adhering group (64.1 ± 13.2 vs. 56.2 ± 11.7 kg). Control group weight was no different from the study group at baseline (56.3 ± 10.3 kg). Weight in the adhering group decreased after the first semester of participation by 2.0 ± 5.7% and after a year by 3.4 ± 4.8%, while the non-adhering group gained weight by 5.8 ± 4.5% and 12.6 ± 8.3%. The control group increased weight after a year by 8.2 ± 6.5%. In total, 18 non-adhering and 14 adhering adolescents completed the study.

Conclusions

This 1-year study shows a statistically significant association between rate of food intake and weight control in adherence to an educational programme directed at developing healthy eating habits. The proposed behavioural training may serve as an option for weight control in adolescents.