-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Obese children have less
sensitive taste buds than normal-weight children, according to a
This diminished ability to distinguish all five types of taste
-- bitter, sweet, salty, sour and savory -- may lead them to eat
larger amounts of food in order to get the same taste sensation as
normal-weight children, the German researchers suggested.
The study, published online Sept. 20 in the journal
Archives of Disease in Childhood, included 99 obese and 94
normal-weight children, aged 6 to 18 years. All were in good health
and not taking any medications that affect taste and smell. The
children's taste sensitivity was tested by placing 22 taste strips
on the tongue. The strips included each of the five types of taste
at four levels of intensity, plus two blank strips.
Overall, children were best able to identify sweet and salty
tastes. They found it hardest to distinguish between salty and
sour, and between salty and savory. Girls and older children were
better at identifying tastes.
Obese children had a significantly more difficult time
identifying the different tastes and taste intensity than
normal-weight children, Dr. Susanna Wiegand, of the department of
pediatric endocrinology and diabetology at the Charite University
of Medicine in Berlin, said in a journal news release.
Genes, hormones and exposure to different tastes early in life
are believed to play a role in why people have different taste
perceptions. Previous research suggests that people with heightened
taste sensitivity may eat less food because they don't require as
much to get the same taste sensation.
Although the study showed an association between obesity and
diminished sensitivity in taste buds, it did not prove a
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders has more about
taste and taste disorders.
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