Background

Previous studies show that certain childhood family mealtime behaviors can in turn become risk factors for development of disordered eating. We examined the relationship between self-reported childhood mealtime behaviors and disordered eating in young adult (< 38 years old) metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) patients.

Methods

A sample of pre-(n= 39) and post-(n= 37) operative MBS patients completed two self-administered measures: The Family Mealtime Questionnaire (FMQ) and The Eating Disorder Examination (EDE-Q). Pearson correlation coefficients, chi-square tests, and linear mixed models examined the relationship between EDE-Q global score (calculated by the sum of mean restraint, eating-, shape-, and weight concerns subscores) before and after surgery and the FMQ.

Results

More than half (61.8%) of the sample (mean age= 26.04 years, SD= 5.46, range 16-37, 68% female, 63% Hispanic, 24% non-Hispanic black) reported an EDE-Q global score above the norm-referenced value. EDE-Q global score was significantly correlated with 17 FMQ items, including (1) Remember worrying about my weight when I was young (r= 0.426, p-value< 0.001); (2) Attention focused on eating habits during mealtimes (r= 0.348, p-value<0.001); (4) everyone in my family speak their views at dinnertime (r= 0.340, p-value= 0.003); (5) I enjoyed eating without my father (r= 0.334, p-value= 0.004); (6) my family thinks beauty depends on weight (r= 0.413, p-value= 0.002).

Conclusions

A significant proportion of childhood mealtime behaviors were associated with disordered eating patterns in this patient population. Some of these behaviors may affect MBS patients’ ability to obtain and sustain optimal post-MBS weight loss goals.