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Physiol Behav. 2015 Jan;138:69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.10.001. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

Differences in eating behaviors and masticatory performances by gender and obesity status.

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Department of Oriental Medical Food and Nutrition, Semyung University, Jecheon, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
Department of Food and Nutrition, Hanyang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


This study aimed to determine whether there might be differences in masticatory performance and eating behaviors by gender and obesity status. Forty eight (24 males; 24 females) non-obese and pre-obese young adults were matched for age, gender, and dental health. Eating behaviors were assessed using the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), and chewing performance while eating 152g of boiled rice was measured using electromyography (EMG). Compared with non-obese participants, pre-obese participants had significantly higher levels of disinhibition according to the TFEQ (P<0.05 for males; P<0.01 for females). Microstructures of chewing performance were significantly different by gender but not by obesity status. Males had a greater bite size (P<0.05), greater chewing power (P<0.001) and a faster eating rate (P<0.05) than females. Females habitually chewed more (P<0.05) and had a longer meal duration (P<0.01) than males. Eating rate was positively associated with disinhibition (r=0.490, P<0.05) score in males. Bite size (r=-0.449, P<0.05 for non-obese) and chewing power (r=-0.581, P<0.01 for non-obese and r=-0.446, P<0.05 for pre-obese) were negatively associated with disinhibition score. Results suggest that the effects of gender and, in part, obesity on eating responses may be explained as chewing performance. Therefore, gender-specific interventions and counseling aimed at slowing the rate of ingestion could be promising behavioral treatments for obese persons.


Eating rate; Gender differences; Masticatory performance; Obesity; Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire

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