British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire: associations with BMI in Portuguese children

V. Vianaa1 c1, S. Sindea1 and J. C. Saxtona2

a1 Faculty of Food Sciences and Nutrition, University of Porto, Rua Dr Roberto Frias, Porto 4200-465, Portugal

a2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK


The objective of this study was to examine the association between the scores of the Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ) and BMI in a sample of Portuguese children. Using a cross-sectional design, a sample of 240 children (123 females and 117 males) aged 3–13 years were recruited from clinic and community-based settings. Parents completed the CEBQ to indicate their child's eating style for three ‘food approach’ and four ‘food avoidant’ sub-scales. Factor analyses revealed an underlying structure similar to the original CEBQ. Children's height and weight were measured to calculate BMI and Centre for Disease Control BMI z-scores. Hierarchical regression analyses controlling for gender, age and socioeconomic status indicated that all CEBQ sub-scales were significantly associated with BMI z-scores (P = 0·03 to < 0·001). Food approach scales were positively related to BMI z-scores (β = 0·33–0·51) and food avoidance negatively related (β = − 0·17 to − 0·46). Our results support the use of the CEBQ to further understand eating style as a behavioural pathway to obesity.

(Received May 10 2007)

(Revised October 26 2007)

(Accepted November 20 2007)

(Online publication February 14 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Victor Viana, fax 351 22 507 4329, email


Abbreviations: CEBQ, Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire; EF, Enjoyment of food; EOE, Emotional over-eating; EUE, Emotional under-eating; FF, Food fussiness; FR, Food responsiveness; SE, Slowness in eating; SR, Satiety responsiveness; SES, socioeconomic status