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Prev Med. 2005 Mar;40(3):326-36.

Relationship of cognitive restraint of eating and disinhibition to the quality of food choices of Latina women and their young children.

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  • 1Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.



Previous studies have examined the association of methods to control eating such as dietary restraint and disinhibition with weight and quantity of foods eaten. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of these constructs with quality of food choices for women and for their young children.


One hundred and eighty-seven Latina women completed the Eating Inventory, which measures cognitive dietary restraint and disinhibition, and reported on the food intakes of themselves and their 5- to 7-year-old child using a food frequency questionnaire. BMIs were also calculated.


Cognitive restraint in mothers was generally associated with more healthful food choices of themselves and, to a lesser degree, of their children. Mothers' dietary disinhibition was associated with less healthful choices of themselves and their children. Mothers' control variables were not related to children's BMIs, except disinhibition was positively correlated with boys' BMI. Cognitive restraint in this low-income Latina population is thus associated with higher quality diets of self and child with no negative impact on children's BMIs whereas disinhibition is associated with overeating by self and child of high-fat, high-sugar foods. With the rise of obesity and with dietary quality of most Americans needing improvement, restraint may be a form of necessary cognitive self-regulation; and disinhibition or overeating is of greater concern.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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