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Eat Behav. 2000 Sep;1(1):23-31.

The adoption of eating behaviors conducive to weight loss.

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  • 1University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Given the plethora of eating behavior techniques that obese individuals might adopt for weight loss, it is not likely that they could, or would be willing to, adopt all of them. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the specific eating behaviors conducive to weight loss adopted during the behavioral treatment of obesity, and to distinguish those that were deemed beneficial from the ones that were not. Fifty obese (BMI 32+/-4 kg/m(2), mean+/-SD), postmenopausal women (60+/-6 years old) participated in a 6-month behavior modification, dietary, low-intensity walking weight loss program. For analysis, they were divided into two groups: "no weight loss" (<or=5 kg, n=18) versus "weight loss" (>5 kg, n=32). At pre- and posttreatment women completed the Eating Behavior Inventory (EBI) that measures specific strategies conducive to weight loss. Women who lost weight increased their total eating behavior score by 20% (p<0.001) and improved the adoption of 14 eating behaviors, which was more than twice that of the non-weight losers. Topping the list of most strongly adopted behaviors were carefully watching and recording the type and quantity of food consumed. Maintaining a weight graph and weighing daily also were important to these women. Neither group of women adopted potentially helpful eating behaviors such as leaving food uneaten, refusing food offered by others, or shopping from a list. In studies of obesity treatment, attendance at class sessions is one marker of program adherence. More definitively, implementing the EBI in clinical and research obesity treatment programs will provide its leaders with insight into whether participants adopt, ignore, or fight the essential behaviors that will facilitate success toward their personal weight loss goals.

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