Exploratory analysis of reflective, reactive, and homeostatic eating behaviour traits on weight change during the 18-month NoHoW weight maintenance trial

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  • Clarissa A. Dakin
  • Graham Finlayson
  • Graham Horgan
  • António L. Palmeira
  • Heitmann, Berit
  • Sofus C. Larsen
  • Falko F. Sniehotta
  • R. James Stubbs

Behaviour change interventions for weight management have found varied effect sizes and frequent weight re-gain after weight loss. There is interest in exploring whether differences in eating behaviour can be used to develop tailored weight management programs. This secondary analysis of an 18-month weight maintenance randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed to investigate the association between individual variability in weight maintenance success and change in eating behaviour traits (EBT). Data was analysed from the NoHoW trial (Scott et al., 2019), which was designed to measure processes of change after weight loss of ≥5% body weight in the previous year. The sample included 1627 participants (mean age = 44.0 years, SD = 11.9, mean body mass index (BMI) = 29.7 kg/m2, SD = 5.4, gender = 68.7% women/31.3% men). Measurements of weight (kg) and 7 EBTs belonging to domains of reflective, reactive, or homeostatic eating were taken at 4 time points up to 18-months. Increases in measures of ‘reactive eating’ (binge eating, p < .001), decreases in ‘reflective eating’ (restraint, p < .001) and changes in ‘homeostatic eating’ (unlimited permission to eat, p < .001 and reliance on hunger and satiety cues, p < .05) were significantly and independently associated with concomitant weight change. Differences in EBT change were observed between participants who lost, maintained, or re-gained weight for all EBTs (p < .001) except for one subscale of intuitive eating (eating for physical reasons, p = .715). Participants who lost weight (n = 322) exhibited lower levels of reactive eating and higher levels of reflective eating than participants who re-gained weight (n = 668). EBT domains can identify individuals who need greater support to progress in weight management interventions. Increasing reflective eating and reducing reactive eating may enhance weight management success.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106980
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Eating behaviour, Homeostatic eating, Obesity, Reactive eating, Reflective eating, Weight change, Weight maintenance

ID: 366809769