How kids respond differently to foods

New York, July 8 (IANS) How children perceive high-calorie foods depends on how much fat have accumulated around their waistlines, a new study says.

So lean children will have more powerful brain responses while looking at high-calorie foods compared to children with lower lean body weight.

On the contrary, the researchers found that children with higher body fat had lower activity in this same brain area when they saw pictures of healthier, low-calorie foods.

“Kids with more lean body weight might have a greater reward response to higher calorie foods, in part because they have greater energy needs compared to children with less lean body weight,” said Nicole Fearnbach from Pennsylvania State University’s department of nutritional sciences in a statement.

“Bigger kids burn more calories and our results show that their brains respond differently to foods,” Fearnbach added.

The study involved 38 children aged seven to 10 and their parents. Interestingly, the team also found that children with more body fat had a reduced brain response to healthy foods.

It might be that kids with higher body fat find those healthier foods to be less rewarding. The results suggest that children’s body composition may influence how their brains respond to food. Future studies are needed to determine how these findings relate to children’s food intake or their body weight over time, the authors said.

The research is scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour (SSIB) in Denver, Colorado.

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