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Association between eating behavior scores and obesity in Chilean children

José L Santos1*, Judith A Ho-Urriola1, Andrea González1, Susan V Smalley1, Patricia Domínguez-Vásquez1, Rodrigo Cataldo1, Ana M Obregón1, Paola Amador1, Gerardo Weisstaub2 and M Isabel Hodgson1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition, Diabetes and Metabolism. School of Medicine. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Alameda 340. Santiago, Chile

2 Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos (INTA). Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:108  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-108

Published: 11 October 2011



Inadequate eating behavior and physical inactivity contribute to the current epidemic of childhood obesity. The aim of this study was to assess the association between eating behavior scores and childhood obesity in Chilean children.

Design and methods

We recruited 126 obese, 44 overweight and 124 normal-weight Chilean children (6-12 years-old; both genders) according to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria. Eating behavior scores were calculated using the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ). Factorial analysis in the culturally-adapted questionnaire for Chilean population was used to confirm the original eight-factor structure of CEBQ. The Cronbach's alpha statistic (>0.7 in most subscales) was used to assess internal consistency. Non-parametric methods were used to assess case-control associations.


Eating behavior scores were strongly associated with childhood obesity in Chilean children. Childhood obesity was directly associated with high scores in the subscales "enjoyment of food" (P < 0.0001), "emotional overeating" (P < 0.001) and "food responsiveness" (P < 0.0001). Food-avoidant subscales "satiety responsiveness" and "slowness in eating" were inversely associated with childhood obesity (P < 0.001). There was a graded relation between the magnitude of these eating behavior scores across groups of normal-weight, overweight and obesity groups.


Our study shows a strong and graded association between specific eating behavior scores and childhood obesity in Chile.

feeding behavior; obesity; children