I think the studies Dr. Paster referred to are from the April edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, where there are two very interesting articles:
- "Self-regulation and Rapid Weight Gain in Children From Age 3 to 12 Years" by
Lori A. Francis and Elizabeth J. Susman, Arch. of Pediatrics and Adolescent Med. 2009; 163(4):297-302. (See the Abstract.)
- "Ability to Delay Gratification at Age 4 Years and Risk of Overweight at Age 11 Years" by Desiree M. Seeyave, Sharon Coleman, Danielle Appugliese, Robert F. Corwyn, Robert H. Bradley, Natalie S. Davidson, Niko Kaciroti, and Julie C. Lumeng, Arch. of Pediatrics and Adolescent Med. 2009; 163(4):303-308. (See the Abstract.)
Self-control and the ability to delay gratification may have an impact on physical health but perhaps more importantly on spiritual well-being. Following Christ absolutely requires this if we are to more fully love others and God rather than merely serving ourselves. Self-control is also important if we are to follow the Lord's inspired principles of sexual morality and prepare ourselves for successful marriage. Even relatively simple things like paying tithing require the ability to delay gratification and put longer-term objectives ahead of immediate pleasures. I agree that teaching this ability is one of the most important things that parents can do - and yes, they can! Kids might later choose to reject the training, but they can be taught.