Early childhood ability to exercise self-control and later weight gain

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Obviously, there are many factors that play into what causes a person to be overweight. However, could something as simple as early childhood ability to exercise self-control be a major factor? Finding from a study published in the April Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggest that this may be the case. According to the study children who have an inability to delay gratification at the age of 4 have an increased likelihood of being overweight at the age of 11. Julie C. Lumeng, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues, found that half the 4-year-old children who participated in their validated test of ability to delay gratification failed; children who failed the test were found to have a 30% greater risk of being overweight seven years later. The researchers commenting on the findings stated, “”To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that children with limited ability to delay gratification are more likely to be overweight several years later independent of income-to-needs ratio‚Ķ Although our study cannot prove causality, results support prior studies that suggest that ability to delay gratification is a potential factor in overweight risk among children.” Click here to read an article from CBC News that discusses the study more.

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