Associations between eating behaviors, diet quality and body mass index among adolescents

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Megan C. Lawless (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lenka Shriver

Abstract: The prevalence of overweight and obesity are high in the U.S. and affect the population across all sociodemographic groups. Research shows that eating behaviors influence dietary intake as well as weight status, but both are complex processes that are influenced by a variety of biological, personal, behavioral, and environmental factors. Typically, adolescence is characterized by increased intakes of high-energy foods and beverages, higher obesity rates, as well as increasing prevalence of unhealthy weight management practices compared to younger age groups. Despite the obesogenic epidemic and high prevalence of unhealthy diets among adolescents, little is known about how eating behaviors, such as disinhibition and restraint, function in relation to weight and dietary outcomes in this age group. The purpose of the current research was to examine the associations between the two dysregulated eating behaviors, disinhibition and restraint, in relation to BMI and overall diet quality in a sample of adolescents. Subjects were 16-year olds participating in a longitudinal study that examines self-regulation as a predictor of cardiometabolic risks among adolescents. Disinhibition and restraint were measured using the subscales of the Three- Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ). Dietary intake was assessed from 24 hour-dietary recalls that were used to calculate the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI). Two separate hierarchical linear regression analyses were performed to test whether restraint moderated the associations between disinhibition and overall diet quality and BMI-for-age percentile. After adjusting for race and SES, the interaction effect between disinhibition and restraint fell short of statistical significance in the model that predicted BMI-for-age percentile (b=-.231 p=.176). There was a main effect of disinhibition on BMI-for-age percentiles (b=1.754, p=.012) such that individuals reporting higher scores for disinhibition had greater BMI-for-age percentiles. There was also a significant main effect of restraint on BMI-for-age percentile (b=.961, p=.038) so as the scores for restraint increased, so did BMI-for-age percentile. HEI-2010 scores were significantly associated with restraint scores (p=.009). Post-hoc probing revealed that at a high level of restraint, the association between disinhibition and HEI scores was non-significant (B=-.669, p=0.136). At low levels of restraint, there was a trend towards positive association between disinhibition and HEI-2010 score; however, this was statistically non-significant (B=1.073, p=0.069). In conclusion, the present study suggests that high levels of restraint independently predict both better diet quality and lower BMI-for-age percentiles, while disinhibition predicts only higher BMI-for-age percentiles among adolescents. Future studies should examine other factors, such as dieting status, to better understand these relationships in this target population.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Adolescents, Diet Quality, Disinhibition, Obesity, Restraint
Teenagers $x Nutrition $x Psychological aspects
Food habits $x Psychological aspects
Appetite $x Physiological aspects
Ingestion $x Regulation
Body mass index

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