This study investigated the relationship between eating behavior and childhood overweight among population-based elementary schoolchildren in Japan. Data was collected from fourth graders (9 or 10 years of age) from Ina Town, Saitama Prefecture, Japan from 1999 to 2009. Information about subjects’ sex, age, and lifestyle, including eating behaviors (eating until full and chewing thoroughly), was obtained using a self-administered questionnaire, and height and weight were measured directly. Overweight was determined according to the definition established by the International Obesity Task Force. Data from 4027 subjects (2079 boys and 1948 girls) were analyzed. Chewing thoroughly was associated with a significantly decreased odds ratio (OR) for being overweight, whereas eating until full significantly increased the OR for being overweight (OR: 1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.16–1.94) among boys. However, eating until full was not associated with a significantly increased OR for being overweight among the group that reported chewing thoroughly, whereas it was associated with a significantly increased OR for being overweight (2.02, 1.38–2.94) among boys who did not chew thoroughly. In conclusion, eating until full or not chewing thoroughly was associated with being overweight among elementary schoolchildren. Results of this study suggest that chewing thoroughly may be an avenue to explore childhood overweight prevention efforts.
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering