Weight regulation practices of young adults. Predictors of restrictive eating

Virginia M. Quick, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Young adults frequently use restrictive eating (i.e., going for long periods [≥8. h] without eating to influence their shape or weight) to control their weight. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of restrictive eating in young adults, compare eating behaviors of restrictive and non-restrictive eaters, and predict restrictive eaters. A diverse (56% white, 63% female) sample of young adults (n= 2449) completed an online survey that included eating behavior scales (Restraint, Eating, Shape, and Weight Concerns, and Inappropriate Compensatory Behaviors from the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire, Emotional and Disinhibited Eating from the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, and Night Eating from the Night Eating Questionnaire) and demographics. A quarter of women and 20% of men were classified as restrictive eaters. Independent t-tests revealed restrictive eaters had significantly (p< 0.001) higher BMIs than non-restrictive eaters. Restrictive eaters also had significantly higher scores on all eating behavior scales than non-restrictive eaters even after controlling for potential confounding factors (BMI, race). Stepwise binary logistic regression revealed that increased eating, shape, and weight concerns, higher BMI, endorsement of inappropriate compensatory behaviors and night eating, being female, and white increased the odds of participants being restrictive eaters. This study can help healthcare professionals become more aware of weight control practices of young adults and create appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Eating behaviors
  • Restrictive eating
  • Young adults


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