Assessment of eating attitudes and dieting behaviors in healthy children: Confirmatory factor analysis of the Children's Eating Attitudes Test

Tanya Murphy, Heungsun Hwang, Michael Kramer, Richard Martin, Emily Oken, Seungmi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

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Abstract

Objective: The Children's Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT) is a self-report questionnaire that is conventionally summarised with a single score to identify ‘problematic’ eating attitudes, masking informative variability in different eating attitude domains. This study evaluated the empirical support for single- versus multifactor models of the ChEAT. For validation, we compared how well the single- versus multifactor-based scores predicted BMI.

Method: Using data from 13,674 participants of the 11.5 year-follow-up of the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT) in the Republic of Belarus, we conducted confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate the performance of 3- and 5-factor models, which were based on past studies, to a single-factor model representing the conventional summary of the ChEAT. We used cross-validated linear regression models and the reduction in mean squared error (MSE) to compare the prediction of BMI at 11.5y and 16y by the conventional and confirmed factor-based ChEAT scores.

Results:
The 5-factor model, based on 14 of the original 26 ChEAT items, had good fit to the data whereas the 3- and single-factor models did not. The MSE for concurrent (11.5y) BMI regressed on the 5-factor ChEAT summary was 35% lower than that of the single-score models, which reduced the MSE from the null model by only 1–5%. The MSE for BMI at 16y was 20%
lower.

Discussion: We found that a parsimonious 5-factor model of the ChEAT explained the data collected from healthy Belarusian children better than the conventional summary score and thus provides a more discriminating measure of eating attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-680
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume52
Issue number6
Early online date2 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Factor Analysis
  • Adiposity
  • Attitude
  • Psychology
  • Eating
  • Child
  • Republic of Belarus
  • Statistical

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