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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #214997

Title: Heritability of hyperphagic eating behavior and appetite-related hormones among Hispanic children

item Fisher, Jennifer
item Cai, Guowen
item Jaramillo, Sandra
item Cole, Shelly
item Comuzzie, Anthony
item Butte, Nancy

Submitted to: Obesity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2006
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Fisher, J.O., Cai, G., Jaramillo, S.J., Cole, S.A., Comuzzie, A.G., Butte, N.F. 2007. Heritability of hyperphagic eating behavior and appetite-related hormones among Hispanic children. Obesity. 15(6):1484-1495.

Interpretive Summary: Limited evidence indicates that eating without hunger may be a genetically influenced behavior that is characteristic of overweight children. This research evaluated the genetic underpinnings of eating without hunger and its association with overweight among 800 children 5 to 18 years old from 300 Hispanic families. Eating without hunger was measured in a laboratory setting following a dinner eaten to fullness. Results showed that children consumed 20% of their daily energy requirements without hunger, with the greatest amounts being consumed by heaviest children. Further, eating without hunger showed a significant genetic component. These findings indicate that eating without hunger is partially genetically determined in overweight Hispanic children.

Technical Abstract: Eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) may be a genetically influenced phenotype of overweight children, but evidence is limited. This research evaluated the heritability (h2) of EAH and its association with overweight among Hispanic children 5 to 18 years old. Genetic and environmental associations of EAH with overweight, fat mass, and key hormonal regulators of food intake were also evaluated. A family design was used to study 801 children from 300 Hispanic families. Weighed food intakes were used to measure EAH after an ad libitum dinner providing 50% of estimated energy needs. Fasting ghrelin, amylin, insulin, and leptin were measured by immunoassays. Measured heights, weights, and fat mass (using DXA) were obtained. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured by room respiration calorimetry. On average, children consumed 41% of TEE at the dinner meal, followed by an additional 19% of TEE in the absence of hunger. Overweight children consumed 6.5% more energy at dinner (p < 0.001) and 14% more energy in the absence of hunger (p < 0.001) than non-overweight children. Significant heritabilities were seen for EAH (h2 = 0.51) and dinner intake (h2 = 0.52) and for fasting levels of ghrelin (h2 = 0.67), amylin (h2 = 0.37), insulin (h2 = 0.37), and leptin (h2 = 0.34). Genetic correlations were seen between eating behavior and fasting hormones, suggesting common underlying genes affecting their expression. This research provides new evidence that overweight Hispanic children exhibit elevated levels of hyperphagic eating behaviors that are influenced by genetic endowment.