Eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) has been identified as a behavioral phenotype for obesity. Few studies have reported on objective measures of EAH in adolescents, and fewer yet have objectively measured EAH in a naturalistic, home setting. The purpose of this paper was to examine relations between objective, adolescent-report and parent-report measures of EAH, and to examine variation by sex and race. Participants included 295 predominantly low-income and rural adolescents (mean age = 14.2 ± 0.6 years) and their parents, drawn from the Family Life Project. An EAH task was administered in the home following an ad-libitum meal and compulsory milkshake; EAH was also reported on a web-based survey (both adolescent and parent reports) and adolescents’ BMIz was calculated from height and weight, measured in the home or self-reported on the web survey. A high degree of variability in EAH intake was observed (range = 8–741 kcals). Parent and adolescent reports of EAH were weakly correlated and unrelated to observed EAH consumption; only adolescent reports of EAH were related to their BMIz. Several relations varied by sex and race. Positive associations between reported and observed EAH was only observed in girls, and positive associations between observed EAH and BMI was only observed in boys and in white adolescents. Overall EAH consumption was significantly greater in boys and in white adolescents. These findings suggest that EAH can be measured in adolescents in the home. In this sample of youth experiencing rural poverty, this home-based measure appears most valid for white adolescent girls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nutrition and Dietetics