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Behav Res Ther. 2007 Jun;45(6):1357-68. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Predictors of disinhibited eating in children with and without overweight.

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  • 1Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, Ghent, Belgium.



This study examined how 7-13-year-old children with and without overweight respond to free access to snack food in the absence of hunger and whether this eating behaviour could be predicted by parental feeding strategies and child's characteristics.


A total of 52 children (26 normal weight and 26 overweight children) were exposed to snack food after consuming a typical meal. Parental feeding practices and child's variables were assessed via self-report.


Two-third of the sample ate of the presented snacks and consumed an average of 68 g. Overweight boys consumed twice as much than the normal weight boys. Parental feeding strategies did not contribute to the prediction of this eating behaviour. Regardless of the children's weight status, the child's eating style strongly predicted snack intake.


This study provides evidence that overweight boys show difficulties in regulating their eating behaviour. Inconsistent with previous work, no evidence for parental contribution of snack intake was found. The present findings suggest that in older children especially children's own eating style account for the variance in snack eating behaviour.

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