Breaking News
April 24, 2018 - Investigators highlight potential of exercise in addressing substance abuse in teens
April 24, 2018 - Study shows people might develop dementia later and live with it for a shorter period of time
April 24, 2018 - EMBL scientists develop new illumination method to manage neuropathic pain
April 24, 2018 - New compound could offer pain-relieving properties without risk of addiction
April 24, 2018 - New drug treatment could be promising therapeutic approach for millions with asthma
April 24, 2018 - Study provides guidance on using cannabis for treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression
April 24, 2018 - By Royal approval: Queen’s Award success for Elucigene
April 24, 2018 - The role of ‘extra’ DNA in cancer evolution and therapy resistance
April 24, 2018 - Researchers identify tools that caregivers could use to detect delirium in older adults
April 24, 2018 - What to Look Out For
April 24, 2018 - Drugs prescribed for newborns vary widely between NICUs, study finds
April 24, 2018 - FM4200 pressure-resistant mass flow meter from Sensirion
April 24, 2018 - Study links past experiences with bias and avoidance of doctors in women with higher BMI
April 24, 2018 - Role of extrachromosomal pieces of DNA in cancer development and treatment resistance
April 24, 2018 - Rehabilitation technique for stroke appears beneficial for multiple sclerosis patients
April 24, 2018 - Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Announces Submission of New Drug Application for Firdapse for Treatment of Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome
April 24, 2018 - Suicide and homicide rates show large racial disparities across US states
April 24, 2018 - NuProbe to commercialize Wyss Institute’s new technology to facilitate precision medicine
April 24, 2018 - Special series explores pasteurized donor human milk use for hospitalized infants
April 24, 2018 - Slight changes in patient’s position during radiotherapy may impact survival chances
April 24, 2018 - FDA Approves Tagrisso (osimertinib) as First-Line Treatment for EGFR-Mutated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
April 24, 2018 - After knee replacement, play on
April 24, 2018 - Contact precautions do not limit spread of drug-resistant bacteria in ICUs
April 24, 2018 - Researchers discover genetic catalysts that accelerate evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria
April 24, 2018 - WPI researcher launches mobile app for assessing perinatal depression in women
April 24, 2018 - Researchers identify superior blood-based biomarker for assessing sports-related concussions
April 24, 2018 - Gene Therapy Found to Be Promising for β-Thalassemia
April 24, 2018 - Bariatric surgery can lead to changes in relationship status
April 24, 2018 - GPs must embrace digital technologies to make healthcare access easier for patients
April 24, 2018 - Novel stem cell therapy may transform current paradigms for treating heart failure patients
April 24, 2018 - Maternal depression during and after pregnancy linked to poorer child neurodevelopment
April 24, 2018 - Vitamin D and magnesium supplements provide right nutritional support to athletes
April 24, 2018 - Could a Tattoo Someday Spot Your Cancer?
April 24, 2018 - Throat reflexes differ in people with tetraplegia and sleep apnea
April 24, 2018 - Study shows no increased risk of breast cancer recurrence after DIEP flap reconstruction
April 24, 2018 - Nearly three-quarters of commonly used medical scopes tainted by bacteria
April 24, 2018 - Home-based treatment program offers robust and sustained relief for IBS patients
April 24, 2018 - New IntelliCyt Cy-Clone PLUS streamlines clone ranking and selection for cell line development
April 24, 2018 - Scientists examine how specific eating patterns could help fight cancer and obesity
April 24, 2018 - Study sheds new light on how bilinguals process language
April 24, 2018 - Probiotics can improve liver health, shows study
April 24, 2018 - Study may explain how chemoresistance evolves over time in some triple-negative breast cancers
April 24, 2018 - Role of midbrain in encoding identity errors
April 23, 2018 - Salamander study provides clues for treating spinal cord injuries
April 23, 2018 - Relaxation after work could give better night’s sleep
April 23, 2018 - Loneliness on its way to becoming Britain’s most lethal condition
April 23, 2018 - Low-cost blood test for multiple myeloma can deliver same diagnostic information as bone biopsy
April 23, 2018 - Metabolic differences may contribute to postpartum weight retention in black moms
April 23, 2018 - Time-Related Deployment Factors Predict Suicide Attempt Risk
April 23, 2018 - Are newborns ugly? Research says newborns rated ‘less cute’ than older babies
April 23, 2018 - Prenatal marijuana use linked to increased chance of low birth weights
April 23, 2018 - Researchers identify target gene in P. aeruginosa infection
April 23, 2018 - New studies related to causes of liver degradation and possible treatments
April 23, 2018 - Studies offer leads for new approaches to treat neurological problems
April 23, 2018 - Promising cell study may offer new opportunities for treating Parkinson’s disease
April 23, 2018 - Gene Therapy May Be Cure for Some With Rare Blood Disorder
April 23, 2018 - Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as eight years old
April 23, 2018 - Frequent cannabis use by young people linked to small reductions in cognitive function
April 23, 2018 - Innovative research could lead to new ways to treat, prevent cancer
April 23, 2018 - Study uncovers possible source of gender differences in migraines
April 23, 2018 - Study proves usefulness of EDX testing in diagnosis, management of neuromuscular disorders
April 23, 2018 - Hacking ‘drug trafficking’ system could increase effectiveness of diabetes treatment
April 23, 2018 - Clinical trial to examine stem cell therapy for treatment, prevention of complications after traumatic injury
April 23, 2018 - Targeted radiotherapy found to be a good option for women with early breast cancer
April 23, 2018 - Eating fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease
April 23, 2018 - Philips showcases dedicated radiation oncology solutions at ESTRO 2018
April 23, 2018 - Key factor in development of Parkinson’s disease identified
April 23, 2018 - Higher consumption of fish linked to better neurological health
April 23, 2018 - Genevac announces HT Series 3 evaporators with Inert Gas Purge option
April 23, 2018 - Researchers clarify immune response for patients with breast cancer brain metastases
April 23, 2018 - Polypharmacy More Likely for Cancer Survivors
April 23, 2018 - Obesity is shifting cancer to young adults
April 23, 2018 - Scientists illustrate role of novel chromosomal mutations in fosfomycin resistance
April 23, 2018 - Newly developed drug compound may help treat Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
April 23, 2018 - Marriage Means ‘I Do’ for Skin Cancer Detection
April 23, 2018 - Freezing hunger-signaling nerve may help ignite weight loss
April 23, 2018 - Wear exoskeletons with caution for heavy lifting, researchers say
April 23, 2018 - Research offers new hope for healing wounds in patients with diabetes
April 23, 2018 - Shorter courses of radiotherapy found to be safe, effective for prostate cancer patients
April 23, 2018 - Scientists use CRISPR tool to make multiple edits to DNA samples ‘in vitro’
The effects of happiness and sadness on children’s snack consumption

The effects of happiness and sadness on children’s snack consumption

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
The effects of happiness and sadness on children's snack consumption
“What we’re learning is that it’s sometime during the preschool period that children are developing these eating habits. For example, you go to birthday parties and experience positive emotions everyone has fun and gets candy or cake. … Children begin to associate food with certain feelings.”—Dr. Shayla C. Holub, head of the psychological sciences PhD program and associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Credit: University of Texas at Dallas

A University of Texas at Dallas psychologist has examined the preconceptions about the effects of emotions on children’s eating habits, creating the framework for future studies of how dietary patterns evolve in early childhood.

Dr. Shayla C. Holub, head of the psychological sciences Ph.D. program and associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, demonstrated that children from 4½ to 9 years old chose chocolate candy over goldfish crackers more frequently in response to both happiness and sadness.

Her paper, “The effects of happiness and sadness on children’s snack consumption,” was recently published online in the journal Appetite. It was co-authored with Dr. Cin Cin Tan, research faculty at University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, who completed her doctoral dissertation on the topic with Holub at UT Dallas.

Their study showed that, when presented with four snacking options, sad children ate more chocolates than the happy children, who in turn ate more chocolates than the neutral group. Conversely, for the goldfish crackers, the neutral group ate the most, followed by the happy children and the sad children.

“It was nice to see that there was this hierarchy,” said Holub, who used clips from Disney’s The Lion King to create happy, sad and neutral cohorts of children. “The kids watching the saddest video ate the most chocolate. There was a significant drop in consumption among the ones watching the happy video, but they still consumed more chocolate than the neutral video group. This suggests that children eat in response to both happy and sad emotions, but more for sadness.”

The study’s results also show that these tendencies increase with age, which suggests to Holub that it is at least in part a socialized behavior.

“This is one of a very few experimental studies on emotional eating in young children,” she said. “What we’re learning is that it’s sometime during the preschool period that children are developing these eating habits. For example, you go to birthday parties and experience positive emotions—everyone has fun and gets candy or cake. And at holidays, it’s all about the food. Children begin to associate food with certain feelings.”

Holub, the 2015 recipient of the Aage Møller Teaching Award at UT Dallas, explained that children begin with a strong ability to consume the right amount of calories for their energy needs.

“Very young kids are really good at regulating their food intake,” she said. “If you change the energy density of a baby’s formula content, the child adapts his or her food intake in response. If you give preschoolers a snack, they will adjust their meal intake to react appropriately so that they are not too hungry or too full. They know their own body cues.”

Holub argues that it’s in the preschool period that children begin to think not about what their body is telling them, but instead about what their social environment is telling them. It’s during this time that lessons such as eating all the food on the plate or prohibiting certain types of food are frequently introduced.

“If the portion that is on my plate is what I’m supposed to eat, I’m going to force myself to eat it,” she said. “Restrictive feeding practices also seem to be problematic—telling children they can’t have something makes it a preferred food, and when they gain access to it, they immediately eat more of it. That’s another way that children learn to stop listening to their internal cues.”

The latest study built on earlier work by the duo showing that parents teach emotional eating behavior both by example and through their feeding practices.

“In 2015, we published one of the first studies to find that it’s not only that the behavior is being modeled for a child—seeing a parent turn to food when they’re sad, for example—but that it sometimes also might be that parents feed children in emotion-regulating ways,” Holub said. “Your child gets upset? Here’s a piece of candy. You’re bored? Here’s something to eat.”

Holub emphasized that while these trends don’t indicate that habits can’t be modified later, ages 3 to 5 constitute a crucial time in which some children lose their ability to self-regulate.

“If we can learn how to nurture healthy habits early on, that makes us less likely to have to eliminate negative behaviors later,” she said. “The idea is to set up healthy trajectories and communicate with our children about how to choose healthy options.”


Explore further:
Moms of obese children use different words to restrict eating

More information:
Cin Cin Tan et al. The effects of happiness and sadness on Children’s snack consumption, Appetite (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.12.021

Journal reference:
Appetite

Provided by:
University of Texas at Dallas

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles