Associations between weight-related eating behaviors and adiposity in postmenopausal Japanese American and white women

Susan M. Schembre, Cheryl L. Albright, Unhee Lim, Lynne R. Wilkens, Suzanne P. Murphy, Rachel Novotny, Thomas Ernst, Linda Chang, Laurence N. Kolonel, Loïc Le Marchand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to test the associations between cognitive and psychological eating behavior traits and detailed measures of adiposity and body fat distribution using imaging-based methods in a cross-sectional study. Eating behavior traits (compensatory and routine restraint, external eating, and emotional eating) were assessed using the validated Weight-Related Eating Questionnaire, and measures of adiposity using anthropometry, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Each adiposity outcome of interest (total fat, ratio of trunk fat to periphery fat, visceral and subcutaneous fats as % of abdominal area, and % liver fat) was regressed on the four eating behaviors while adjusting for age and race/ethnicity. This study included a total of 60 postmenopausal Japanese American (n=30) and white (n=30) women (age: 60-65years, BMI: 18.8-39.6kg/m 2). Weight-related eating behavior traits did not differ by ethnicity. Higher external eating scores were associated with measures of total adiposity, including higher BMI (β=0.36, p=0.02) and DXA total fat mass (β=0.41, p=0.001), and with MRI abdominal subcutaneous fat (β=0.55, p=0.001). Higher routine restraint scores were associated with visceral adiposity (β=0.42, p=0.04). Our findings suggest that different weight-related eating behavior traits might increase not only total adiposity but also abdominal and visceral fat deposition associated with higher metabolic risks. Future research, preferably in a prospective study of men and women and including biomarkers related to psychological stress, will be needed to explore potential underlying biological mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 16 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Body fat distribution
  • Central obesity
  • Eating behaviors
  • Liver fat
  • Subcutaneous adipose tissue
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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