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A Questionnaire-Based Assessment of Hunger, Speed of Eating and Food Intake in Children with Obesity

Authors Slyper A, Shenker J, Israel A

Received 11 October 2020

Accepted for publication 4 December 2020

Published 8 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 59—66


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonio Brunetti

Arnold Slyper,1 Joelle Shenker,2 Ariel Israel3

1Pediatric Endocrinology, Clalit Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel; 2Department of Pediatrics, Clalit Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel; 3Department of Family Medicine, Clalit Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel

Correspondence: Arnold Slyper
Pediatric Specialty Center, Clalit Health Services, 22 Bnei Brit St, Jerusalem 9514622, Israel
Tel +972 58 578 8844

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that obesity in Israeli children is associated with chronically increased hunger and to examine for persistent abnormalities of satiation and between-meal satiety in these children.
Subjects/Methods: The parents of 200 children with obesity and 100 normal-weight children completed a questionnaire together with their child that rated hunger, food intake at main meal, and speed of eating. Time to hunger from the main meal was also recorded. Children with hunger ratings above 4 on a 7-point scale were considered to have persistent hunger. Food intake ratings at the main meal were used as an approximate indicator of satiation and time from main meal to feeling hunger as an approximate indicator of between-meal satiety.
Results: There were marked differences between children with obesity and controls for hunger, food intake at main meal and speed of eating ratings (all p< 0.001). The difference to time to hunger reached significance after adjusting for age and sex (p=0.048). 41% of the children with obesity had the highest rating for persistent hunger versus 5% of controls (p< 0.001).
Conclusion: Persistent hunger, abnormal food intake at the main meal and rapid eating are common in children with obesity and are often of marked degree. These findings could have implications for understanding how pediatric obesity perpetuates itself and even worsens and its resistance to successful treatment over the long term.

Keywords: hunger, obesity, pediatrics, speed of eating

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