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Open AccessArticle

Emotional Eating, Health Behaviours, and Obesity in Children: A 12-Country Cross-Sectional Study

1
Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Sociology, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada
4
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
5
Alliance for Research In Exercise Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
6
CIFI2D, Faculdade de Desporto, University of Porto, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal
7
School of Medicine, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá 11001000, Colombia
8
Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
9
Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020351
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Behavior and Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents)
Eating in response to negative emotions (emotional eating, EE) may predispose an individual to obesity. Yet, it is not well known how EE in children is associated with body mass index (BMI) and health behaviours (i.e., diet, physical activity, sleep, and TV-viewing). In the present study, we examined these associations in a cross-sectional sample of 5426 (54% girls) 9–11-year-old children from 12 countries and five continents. EE, food consumption, and TV-viewing were measured using self-administered questionnaires, and physical activity and nocturnal sleep duration were measured with accelerometers. BMI was calculated using measured weights and heights. EE factor scores were computed using confirmatory factor analysis, and dietary patterns were identified using principal components analysis. The associations of EE with health behaviours and BMI z-scores were analyzed using multilevel models including age, gender, and household income as covariates. EE was positively and consistently (across 12 study sites) associated with an unhealthy dietary pattern (β = 0.29, SE = 0.02, p < 0.0001), suggesting that the association is not restricted to Western countries. Positive associations between EE and physical activity and TV viewing were not consistent across sites. Results tended to be similar in boys and girls. EE was unrelated to BMI in this sample, but prospective studies are needed to determine whether higher EE in children predicts the development of undesirable dietary patterns and obesity over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: eating behaviour; psychological eating style; negative emotions; Emotion-Induced Eating Scale; health behaviour; BMI eating behaviour; psychological eating style; negative emotions; Emotion-Induced Eating Scale; health behaviour; BMI
MDPI and ACS Style

Jalo, E.; Konttinen, H.; Vepsäläinen, H.; Chaput, J.-P.; Hu, G.; Maher, C.; Maia, J.; Sarmiento, O.L.; Standage, M.; Tudor-Locke, C.; Katzmarzyk, P.T.; Fogelholm, M. Emotional Eating, Health Behaviours, and Obesity in Children: A 12-Country Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 351.

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