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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jul;61(7):822-9. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Eating styles, overweight and obesity in young adult twins.

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  • 1Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.



To explore the association of eating styles with overweight and obesity in young adults, controlling for identical genetic background in monozygotic twins.


Prospective twin cohort study.


Finland, 1991-2002.


Two-hundred and thirty-three women and 2060 men from the FinnTwin16 study, aged 16 years at baseline (T1), and ranging from 22 to 27 years at the time of the nutritional assessment (T4).


Eating styles (Restrictive/overeating, health-conscious, snacking, emotional and externally induced), self-reported at T4, were contrasted with body mass indices (BMIs) at T1 and T4.


At T4, obesity (BMI>or=30Kg/m(2)) was significantly cross-sectionally associated with restrictive eating, frequent snacks, eating in the evening, avoiding fatty foods and failure to maintain healthy eating patterns. These associations were independent of BMI at T1. Obese women self-reported more vulnerability to external eating cues and comfort eating than normal-weight women. However, in a multivariable model, only restrictive/overeating and health-conscious eating styles were significant correlates of obesity at T4, independent of gender and BMI at T1. When we controlled for genetic background restricting the analysis to the 39 female and 45 male monozygotic twin pairs discordant for obesity or overweight (BMI>or=25Kg/m(2)), restrictive/overeating eating style was still statistically significantly associated with excess weight.


The eating styles of obese young adults differ from their normal-weight counterparts: restrictive eating, overeating and fewer healthy food choices are associated with obesity. Different eating styles may partially explain weight differences in individuals with identical genetic background.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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