Early childhood precursors for eating problems in adolescence: A 15-year longitudinal community study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: This longitudinal community study investigated the role of individual risk factors in early childhood (before age five) for the development of eating problems in adolescence. Nine hundred twenty-one mothers completed the first questionnaire when their child was 1.5 years old, and again when their child was 2.5 (n = 784) and 4.5 (n = 737) years old. Three hundred seventy-three of these children completed the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) when they were 16 years old. RESULTS: Mother-rated early childhood sleep problems (assessed before the age of five) predicted self-rated eating problems in adolescents, with gender, birth weight, and a number of early childhood internal and environmental factors controlled. Unexpectedly, early childhood eating problems were not associated with later eating problems. CONCLUSIONS: The possible role of sleep in the development of eating problems needs further investigation. In particular, mediating mechanisms should be studied more closely.

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Hafstad, G. S., von Soest, T., & Torgersen, L. (2013). Early childhood precursors for eating problems in adolescence: A 15-year longitudinal community study. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/2050-2974-1-35

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