Self-regulation as a correlate of weight status in preschool children
ABSTRACTThe primary aim of this study was to examine associations between executive functioning (EF) and child weight status (categorized from body mass index [BMI] percentiles) in a sample of preschool children. Participants included 80 preschool children (mean age = 4.17 years, female = 52%). Hierarchical regression analyses as well as analysis of covariance were used to test hypotheses. Overall, results indicated that children with higher EF scores (on a composite score of three underlying EF components) had lower BMI percentiles and were more likely to be categorized as normal weight. Follow-up analyses revealed that only one individual EF component, cognitive flexibility, was significantly related to BMI percentile and weight status. Although the study sample was relatively small, findings suggest that this relation needs to be explored more in depth to understand how and why it is related and how that relation may be affected by intervention.