Better quality of mother-child interaction at 4 years of age decreases emotional overeating in IUGR girls.


PubMedID: 25014742

Escobar R, O'Donnell K, Colalillo S, Pawlby S, Steiner M, Meaney , Mj , Levitan R, Silveira P. Better quality of mother-child interaction at 4 years of age decreases emotional overeating in IUGR girls. Appetite. 2014;.
Background/Objectives: While most work in the "fetal programming" area focused on metabolic disease in the context of intrauterine growth restriction(IUGR), IUGR is also associated with a preference for less healthy food choices. Post-natal environmental factors such as strained maternal-child interactions are also associated with obesogenic eating behaviours. We investigated whether an interaction between IUGR and the quality of the mother/child relationship associates with emotional overeating in children. Subjects/Methods: 196 children from an established prospective birth cohort(the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment-MAVAN project, in Montreal and Hamilton, Canada).As part of the MAVAN protocol at 4 years of age, mothers completed the Children Eating Behavior Questionnaire(CEBQ) and mother-child interactions were filmed during a structured task("Etch-A-Sketch"), with posterior scoring of their emotional tone using a standardized protocol(GESU). A GLM adjusted for BMI was built to examine the interaction between the "Atmosphere"score(ATM) on the GESU, sex and IUGR status on the emotional over-eating domain of the CEBQ. Results: The GML model predicting emotional eating scores at 48 months showed a significant interaction BWR vs. sex vs. ATM (p=.02) with no main effects of IUGR, sex or ATM. Analysis of the interaction demonstrated that the model was significant only for girls with low ATM scores (B= -2.035, p=.014), but not for girls with high ATM scores (p=0.94) or boys with high (p=.27) or low (p=.19) ATM scores. Besides, only in IUGR girls, 48 months emotional over-eating correlated with BMI at that age(r=0.560,p=0.013) and predicted BMI in the subsequent years(r=0.654,p=0.006 at 60 months and r=0.750,p=0.005 at 72 months). Conclusions: IUGR and exposure to a negative emotional atmosphere during maternal-child interactions predicted emotional overeating in girls but not boys at age 4 years. The quality of mother-infant interaction may be an important target for novel interventions to prevent emotional overeating and overweight in early development, particularly in girls with a history of IUGR.