A longitudinal study on the relationship between eating style and gestational weight gain

C. van der Wijden, S. Steinbach, H.P. van der Ploeg, W. van Mechelen, M.N.M. van Poppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gaining too much weight in pregnancy poses health risks for mother and child. Eating style has been shown to be related to weight gain in general but the relation to maternal weight gain in pregnancy is unclear. Objectives: To assess the influence of eating style and psycho social factors on maternal weight gain. Methods: Healthy pregnant women (n = 161), filled in a questionnaire at 15 and 35 weeks of pregnancy. Eating style, social norm, self-efficacy and attitude with regard to weight gain and health during pregnancy were measured. Self-reported pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) was used to determine weight category and weight was objectively measured at 15 and 35 weeks of gestation. Linear regression was used to study the relationship between eating style, psychosocial factors and gestational weight gain, controlling for BMI and age. Hierarchical regression analyses were carried out where the effects of the other eating styles were partialled out. Results: During pregnancy, 66% of the women remained stable as far as individual eating style concerned. At 15 weeks of gestation, 11 (7%) women were classified as emotional eaters, 89 (55%) as external eaters and 61 (38%) as restrained eaters. At first sight being an emotional eater was associated with higher weight gain in pregnancy. In hierarchical regression analyses however none of the eating styles was associated with higher gestational weight gain. Of the psychosocial factors, a better healthy pregnancy attitude at 35 weeks of gestation was associated with less weight gain. Discussion: In the long list of potential drivers of gestational weight gain, eating style does not seem to be of any significance. Healthy pregnancy attitude in late pregnancy was found to be related with less weight gain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-308
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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