Background

Understanding how diet composition and personal characteristics relate to eating behaviors of individuals in weight loss programs could better inform the development and expectations of prescribed weight loss regimens. The purpose of this study was to examine whether diet composition has a significant effect on eating behaviors of individuals participating in a weight loss intervention and what characteristics significantly correlate with changes in such behaviors.

Method

Understanding how diet composition and personal characteristics relate to eating behaviors of individuals in weight loss programs could better inform the development and expectations of prescribed weight loss regimens. The purpose of this study was to examine whether diet composition has a significant effect on eating behaviors of individuals participating in a weight loss intervention and what characteristics significantly correlate with changes in such behaviors.

Result

After 6 months of intervention, there were significant improvements in both study arms on all scales and most subscales, with overall restraint increasing, disinhibition decreasing and hunger decreasing. Other correlations were that as restraint increased, weight loss increased; as hunger decreased, disinhibition decreased; and as physical activity increased, disinhibition decreased. Among personal characteristics, restraint was significantly associated with sex, age and education at baseline, with women reporting higher restraint than men, younger participants reporting lower restraint than older individuals, and college graduates reporting lower restraint than noncollege graduates. Over the course of the weight loss program, there were significant correlations between increased restraint and being male as well as decreased hunger and being a college graduate.

Conclusion

Our results highlight the significance of restraint among the three eating behaviors as it was the only behavior significantly correlated with weight loss and was also correlated with several personal characteristics. Disinhibition and hunger showed other significant correlations with one another that do not directly correlate with weight loss but may be important in other aspects of weight control such as weight loss maintenance.

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