For the study, researchers filmed 254 twin children, aged 10-12, eating a standard meal to test whether their speed of eating was related to the amount of fat they carried.
The researchers found that the overweight children ate significantly more than children who were not overweight.
The overweight children were also found to eat faster, on average 4.1 bites per minute compared with 3.8 bites in the normal weight group.
The results indicate that the children’s eating rate was partly influenced by their genes and that faster eating is linked to eating more.
Lead researcher Professor Jane Wardle, from University College London, said: ‘This twin study suggests that children who eat faster inherit this trait and that it is a worrying factor for weight gain, which could potentially be modified in childhood.’
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