Eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) typically was assessed by measuring snack intake after consumption of a meal. There were no validated self-report measures of EAH. The relationship of adolescent self-report and parent-reported EAH to adolescents' measured intake in the absence of hunger was examined.

Design and Methods

Ninety adolescents completed the Eating in the Absence of Hunger Questionnaire for Children and Adolescents (EAH-C) to describe eating when not hungry. Parents described children's EAH on a parallel version designed for parents (EAH-P). In a randomized crossover study, adolescent EAH in response to external cues was measured as snack intake after a lunch meal standardized to provide 50% of daily energy requirements and after a large array (>10,000 kcal).


Parents' reports of children's EAH in response to external cues were associated with greater EAH after both meals, adjusting for body composition, sex, age, race, puberty, and meal intake. Adolescent-reported EAH was unrelated or showed an inverse association with observed EAH.


Parent-reported EAH showed a positive association with adolescents' observed EAH and may be a useful research and clinical tool for assessing EAH in response to external cues in conditions when laboratory assessments are not feasible.