The authors thank Mastaneh Sharafi and Brandi Rollins for their assistance in preparing this manuscript.
Learning to Eat in an Obesogenic Environment: A Developmental Systems Perspective on Childhood Obesity
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2010
© 2010, Copyright the Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2010, Society for Research in Child Development
Child Development Perspectives
Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 138–143, August 2010
How to Cite
Birch, L. L. and Anzman, S. L. (2010), Learning to Eat in an Obesogenic Environment: A Developmental Systems Perspective on Childhood Obesity. Child Development Perspectives, 4: 138–143. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2010.00132.x
Submitted for publication January 19, 2009; revision received March 18, 2009; accepted March 29, 2009.
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2010
- childhood obesity;
- obesogenic environment;
- early experience;
- food preferences;
- eating behaviors;
- developmental systems theories
Abstract— Currently, children are developing in an obesity-promoting, or obesogenic, environment, which has emerged within the past 3 decades. This rapid change provides a rare opportunity to investigate the phenotypic outcomes that result from the expression of human genetic predispositions in a new environment. Unfortunately, the environmental changes that have occurred are associated with epidemic obesity rates in all age groups. Using a developmental perspective, this article argues that this probabilistic outcome is not predetermined, however. The article also provides examples of learning paradigms—familiarization and associative and observational learning—that present opportunities for parents and caregivers to restructure children’s environments in early life, increasing the likelihood of healthy weight-status outcomes in the context of the current obesogenic environment.