Suchitra Mani

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Overweight persons--Psychology; Women--Psychology; Obesity--Psychological aspects; Fat; Women--Health and hygiene


The present study was designed to investigate whether fat distribution (FD), as measured by Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR), is associated with restraint and emotional eating. Further, the study compared medical problems, weight histories and weight loss intentions of obese women varying in FD. A nonprobability sampling procedure was used to select subjects from the Horizons Weight control program, who had complete information on height, weight, waist and hip circumference. Based on WHR, subjects were assigned to the AO (Abdominal obesity-WHR >0.8) or to the GFO (Gluteal- femoral obesity-WHR < 0.8) group and tested for the above hypotheses. Analysis of results for the whole sample indicated: WHR to be significantly related to hunger scores of the three factor eating inventory; of the ten emotions of the Emotions inventory, WHR was shown to be significantly related to the emotion "anger" with eating; WHR showed a weak negative relationship with restraint and an insignificant positive relationship with disinhibition; Chi- square analysis showed significance for the report of medical problems and weight loss reasons for the whole sample; analysis of weight history variables revealed significant relationship of Weight Cycling Composite Score (WCCS) with Body Mass Index (BMI). Hypothesis testing for the subgroups did not attain significance, except with regard to the significant and positive correlation of WCCS and BMI in GFO subjects. Comparison of scores between groups revealed AO subjects to have registered insignificantly higher scores than GFO subjects for: hunger; negative emotions like anger, tension, sadness/grief, frustration and fear; occurrence of medical problems; and BMI. This supports the prevailing notion that AO subjects are perceived to be at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases than GFO subjects. However, more research with controlled sampling procedure is required to understand the role of fat distribution as a determinant of disordered eating behavior in obese subjects.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [52]-56)


98 pages




Northern Illinois University

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