One area of research in obesity is the ability to self-regulate and how this is affected by external cues. In this national longitudinal study, the self-regulation capacity of 1061 children was measured when they were aged 3 and 5 years. Children who had low self-regulation at both times gained more weight between ages 3 and 12 years than those who were low only on delay of gratification or low on neither. These findings, however, were seen only in girls. Early childhood self-regulatory problems are important longitudinal predictors of weight problems in early adolescence. These findings support other studies that show that obesity has its roots early in life. Interventions to enhance energy-balance regulation in young children may benefit from efforts to encourage self-regulation, such as encouraging self-control and delayed gratification.