Emotional, external and restrained eating behaviour and BMI trajectories in adolescence

Harriëtte M. Snoek, Rutger C.M.E. Engels, Tatjana Van Strien, Roy Otten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Individual differences in eating behaviours might partly explain the variations in development of weight gain and subsequent overweight and obesity. In the current study, identified trajectories of BMI in adolescence and their associations with restrained, emotional and external eating were tested. For the assessment of BMI trajectories growth mixture modelling was used; a method used to identify clusters of individuals within a population that follow distinct developmental trajectories. In total 328 Dutch adolescents (13–15 years old at baseline) self-reported their height and weight at five annual waves and their eating behaviour at baseline. Development of BMI was best fitted in five distinct trajectories that showed similar moderate increase of BMI over time; parallel but at a different level. High restrained eaters had a higher chance of being in the higher BMI trajectories. Emotional and external eating were unrelated to the BMI trajectories. In conclusion, adolescents in this study followed very parallel patterns of moderate increases in BMI which suggests that factors acting on individual differences in weight status have had their influence mostly at a – perhaps much – younger age. Restraint eating was related to BMI in early adolescence, but not to an increases or decreases in BMI over the course of adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-87
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescence
  • BMI
  • Emotional eating
  • External eating
  • Growth mixture modelling
  • Restrained eating


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