(RxWiki News) How long can a four-year-old sit in a room with a cookie on the table? The answer depends on how much self-control the four-year-old has.
A 30-year long study tested 164 adults’ body mass indexes against a delayed gratification test they took when they were four-years-old.
Results found that the longer each kid waited the lower their body mass index was as an adult.
"Practice self-control in your home."
For the study, 653 four-year-olds participated in a delayed gratification test between 1968 and 1974.
Each of the youngsters was placed in a room alone with a cookie. They were told that if they waited until someone came back to eat the treat, they would get a second treat as a bonus.
The kids weren’t told how long they would be left alone, but researchers left each kid for 15 minutes.
A total of 164 of the kids were followed-up with 30 years later to test their body mass index (BMI).
Results of the study found that for each minute a four-year-old delayed eating the treat, they had a lower BMI by an average of 0.2 points.
Only 9 percent of the 164 were obese and 24 percent overweight, both below the national average.
Authors suggested that behavioral interventions that teach children self-control could be useful in lowering their risk for obesity.
Dr. Schlam said, “Interventions can improve young children’s self-control, which may decrease children’s risk of becoming overweight and may have further positive effects on other outcomes important to society (general health, financial stability, and a reduced likelihood of being convicted of a crime).”
This study was published in August in the Journal of Pediatrics. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health, no conflicts of interest were found.