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Appetite. 2004 Aug;43(1):47-53.

Cognitive eating restraint scores are associated with body fatness but not with other measures of dieting in women.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (0430), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 225 Wallace Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0430, USA.


Nearly 50% of women report dieting to lose weight, but the ability of cognitive eating restraint (CER) scores to separate women based on indicators of restricted intake has not been adequately demonstrated. We examined the ability of the CER subscale of the eating inventory to distinguish differences in resting energy expenditure (REE), body composition, cortisol, dietary intake, and physical activity, in a group of women. Subjects (20.4+/-2.3 years) were divided into high (score>9; n=31) and low (score< or =9; n=34) CER groups based on questionnaire responses. Indirect calorimetry was used to measure REE and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to measure body composition. Salivary and 24-hour urinary cortisol were measured by bioassays. Food frequency questionnaires and 4-day food records, physical activity recalls, and anthropometric measures were completed. Women in the high CER group possessed more fat mass (p<0.05) and higher body fat percent (p<0.05) and consumed more servings of fruits and vegetables per day (p<0.05) compared to women in the low CER group. Differences in other indicators were not observed between CER groups. Our findings suggest that cognitive restraint and body fatness may not be independent of one another.

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