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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

SDSU Study Examines the Validity of the Children’s Eating Behavior Questionnaire in New Population Sample

Surging rates of obesity continue to be a public health challenge worldwide with a higher prevalence among the Latino children. Looking at behavioral factors that can contribute to overweight and obesity in children can inform intervention programs. Previous research has found that the psychometric instrument, Children’s Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ), is fit for studying and examining the early eating behaviors of obesity and eating disorders, but studies of “successful validation of the CEBQ has been limited to mostly European, English-speaking, non-Hispanic samples.”

A new study at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health fills in this gap in research. The study is the first to evaluate the validity and factor structure of three CEBQ subscales considered the most relevant in a pediatric sample of school-aged Latino children and their obesity risk: food responsiveness (FR), slowness in eating (SE), and satiety responsiveness (SR).

Using data from a clinic-based obesity prevention and control randomized controlled trial, doctoral student, Ms. Alma I. Behar, working with SDSU professors Drs. Noe C. Crespo, Guadalupe X. Ayala, and John P. Elder examined the validity and relationship of CEBQ subscale scores with children’s Body Mass Index (BMI). The questionnaire was completed in English or Spanish by 295 parents of children who were enrolled in the obesity prevention and control study. The research team used principal components analysis (PCA) and multivariate linear regressions to assess the validity of the three (SE, SR, and FR) CEBQ subscales and examined the relationship between eating styles that contribute to overweight and obesity and BMI in this pediatric Latino population.

Study findings indicate “a relatively similar factor structure to the original three CEBQ subscales” and confirm the validity of the three subscales”. Consistent with previous studies, cross-sectional associations showed that children who were overweight or obese showed greater food responsiveness, lower satiety responsiveness, and increased eating rate.

The study demonstrated that children in the sample manifested eating behaviors that can contribute to overweight and obesity. Furthermore, researchers concluded that the CEBQ may be a valid and reliable tool in assessing and addressing eating behaviors in overweight and obese Latino children-a population that is at greater risk for obesity.

The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.