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'Hearty appetite' is linked to obesity

An infant's hearty appetite might be seen as a healthy sign but could signal a predisposition to obesity, say scientists.

Babies that display two key aspects of appetite grow unusually rapidly up to the age of 15 months, research has shown.

This potentially increases their chances of becoming obese children, according to experts.

A second study found 10-year-olds with a lower satiety response, making them less likely to stop eating when they felt full, were more susceptible to obesity. Satiety responsiveness (SR) was a measurement taken to monitor appetite.


Scientists studied data from non-identical same sex twins who had different levels of SR and food responsiveness (FR), the urge to eat when seeing or smelling tempting food.

Within pairs, the baby that was more food responsive or less satiety responsive than its twin grew faster. At 15 months old, both traits separately caused a twin to be around two pounds heavier than its sibling.

Lead scientist Professor Jane Wardle from University College London said: "It might make life easy to have a baby with a hearty appetite, but as he/she grows up, parents may need to be alert for tendencies to be somewhat over-responsive to food cues in the environment, or unresponsive to fullness."