Familial resemblance in eating behaviors in men and women from the Quebec family study

Véronique Provencher, Louis Pérusse, Luigi Bouchard, Vicky Drapeau, Claude Bouchard, Treva Rice, D. C. Rao, Angelo Tremblay, Jean Pierre Després, Simone Lemieux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: It is commonly recognized that genetic, environmental, behavioral, and social factors are involved in the development of obesity. The family environment may play a key role in shaping children's eating behaviors. The purpose of this study was to estimate the degree of familial resemblance in eating behavioral traits (cognitive dietary restraint, disinhibition, and susceptibility to hunger). Research Methods and Procedures: Eating behavioral traits were assessed with the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire in 282 men and 402 women (202 families) from the Quebec Family Study. Familial resemblance for each trait (adjusted for age, sex, and BMI) was investigated using a familial correlation model. Results: The pattern of familial correlation showed significant spouse correlation for the three eating behavior phenotypes, as well as significant parent-offspring and sibling correlations for disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger. According to the most parsimonious model, generalized heritability estimates (including genetic and shared familial environmental effects) reached 6%, 18%, and 28% for cognitive dietary restraint, disinhibition, and susceptibility to hunger, respectively. Discussion: These results suggest that there is a significant familial component to eating behavioral traits but that the additive genetic component appears to be small, with generalized heritability estimates ranging from 6% to 28%. Thus, non-familial environmental factors and gene-gene and gene-environmental interactions seem to be the major determinants of the eating/behavioral traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1624-1629
Number of pages6
JournalObesity research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2005


  • Behavioral genetics
  • Heritability
  • Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire


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