Is plate clearing a risk factor for obesity? A cross-sectional study of self-reported data in US adults

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Feb;23(2):301-4. doi: 10.1002/oby.20976. Epub 2014 Dec 17.


Objectives: Identifying eating behaviors which contribute to excess weight gain will inform obesity prevention strategies. A tendency to clear one's plate when eating may be a risk factor for obesity in an environment where food is plentiful. Whether plate clearing is associated with increased body weight in a cohort of US participants was examined.

Methods: Nine hundred and ninety-three US adults (60% male, 80% American European, mean age=31 years) completed self-report measures of habitual plate clearing together with behavioral and demographic characteristics known to be associated with obesity.

Results: Plate clearing tendencies were positively associated with BMI and remained so after accounting for a large number of other demographic and behavioral predictors of BMI in analyses (β=0.18, 95% CIs=0.07, 0.29, P<0.001); an increased tendency to plate clear was associated with a significantly higher body weight.

Conclusions: The tendency to clear one's plate when eating is associated with increased body weight and may constitute a risk factor for weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain / physiology
  • Young Adult