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Emotional, external, restrained eating and overweight in Dutch adolescents


Harriëtte Snoek, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 243612980; fax: +31 243612776; e-mail:


The purpose of this study was to determine how emotional, external and restrained eating behavior and other health-related lifestyle factors were associated with being overweight in adolescents. Moreover, demographic and ethnic differences in eating behavior have been examined. The respondents were 10,087 Dutch adolescents aged 11–16 years (M= 13.0, SD= 0.8). Self-reported eating behavior was measured with the DEBQ. Health-related lifestyle was determined by physical activity, breakfasting, fruit consumption and snacking. High restrained, and low external eating were positively associated with being overweight, whereas no significant association between emotional eating and being overweight was found for girls, and a negative association for boys. Adolescents who ate breakfast on a daily basis were less likely to be overweight than those who ate breakfast irregularly or never. Being overweight was positively associated with fruit consumption for girls and negatively with physical activity for boys.