Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Some infants recognize, respond to social eating cues

03.05.2004


UMHS study suggests some babies more in tune to mom’s behavior at meals



Mealtime is a nightmare, the baby won’t eat what’s on his highchair, and instead he seems to grab for whatever mom and dad have on their plates. For many parents it’s a familiar and frustrating story.

But while parents may describe their baby as a difficult eater or an overeater, it could be just a sign that the child is more tuned in to the eating habits of those around him.


A new study by University of Michigan Health System researchers looked at the eating behaviors of babies who were described by their mothers as difficult eaters or overeaters and compared them to similar children whose mothers did not report problems during meals. Results of the pilot study will be presented May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in San Francisco.

The difficult eaters and overeaters were more likely to eat when their mother handled their food. And the more mom touched the food, the more likely baby was to feed himself or herself. This same relationship was not found in children who were not difficult eaters or overeaters.

"We know the way human beings eat is not regulated by whether you’re hungry as much as by social cues in the environment: You eat lunch because it’s noon or because you want to take a break or your friends are going out," says study author Julie Lumeng, M.D., clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at U-M Medical School. "This study suggests maybe there are some babies who are much more tied in to those social cues than others. Maybe these kids are much more cued in to how people around them are eating. With the obesity epidemic, that could be significant as these infants grow up."

As part of the Michigan Family Study, a longitudinal study of infant development, families were videotaped in their home during a normal feeding when the infant was 15 months old. Mothers filled out a questionnaire describing their baby’s eating behavior. From this group, the researchers looked specifically at eight children whose mothers had identified them as difficult feeders and eight children whose mothers said they were overeaters. These groups were matched to 16 babies who were not problem eaters. All the babies were growing normally and had no underlying medical problems.

Watching the videotaped feeding, the researchers marked every time the mothers handled the food or fed the babies a bite and every time the babies fed themselves a bite. They also looked at how the babies behaved and ate during fussy moments.

Babies who were difficult eaters or overeaters were more likely to feed themselves after their mother handed them bites or handled their food. But among the controls, there was no link between the mothers handling the food and the babies eating.

"It’s not as simple as saying that mothers who think their babies are difficult feeders are handling the food more and hovering over the high chair tray with a jar of baby food. It’s not that the mother is trying to feed the child more; it’s that the child who is a difficult eater is much more likely to feed himself when his mother is there," says Lumeng, who is also a research investigator for the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

During fussy moments, babies were less likely to eat. But the babies continued to feed themselves bites at random times. While babies who were not fussy gradually slowed their eating over time, the fussy babies did not show those signs of becoming full. This could indicate a link between emotions and eating, similar to the comfort eating of many adults.

While the study does not suggest any specific behaviors parents can model to make mealtime easier, Lumeng suggests mothers should trust their instincts and know that their baby might be more tied in to the parents’ behavior during meals.

"Infants are really hard wired to want what you are eating. If part of the difficulty of the feeding is that mom’s eating BBQ chicken and the baby’s getting squash and rice, the answer is to let the baby try a bite of BBQ chicken. Some of these kids that mothers perceive as difficult eaters may just have a natural inclination to eat what they see their mother eat or handle or prepare," Lumeng says.


In addition to Lumeng, study authors are Jacinta Sitto, Tiffany Cardinal and Susan Mcdonough all with the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

For more information, contact:
Nicole Fawcett, nfawcett@umich.edu, or
Kara Gavin, kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220

Nicole Fawcett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/relarch.cfm

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht The competitive edge: Dietary competition played a key role in the evolution of early primates
01.08.2018 | Grand Valley State University

nachricht Diversity and education influence India’s population growth
31.07.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>