Eating in the Absence of Hunger (EAH) represents a failure to self-regulate intake leading to overconsumption. Existing research on EAH has come from the clinical setting, limiting our understanding of this behavior. The purpose of this study was to describe the adaptation of the clinical EAH paradigm for preschoolers to the classroom setting and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of measuring EAH in the classroom. The adapted protocol was implemented in childcare centers in Houston, Texas (N=4) and Phoenix, Arizona (N=2). The protocol was feasible, economical, and time efficient, eliminating previously identified barriers to administering the EAH assessment such as limited resources and the time constraint of delivering the assessment to participants individually. Implementation challenges included difficulty in choosing palatable test snacks that were in compliance with childcare center food regulations and the limited control over the meal that was administered prior to the assessment. The adapted protocol will allow for broader use of the EAH assessment and encourage researchers to incorporate the assessment into longitudinal studies in order to further our understanding of the causes and emergence of EAH.
Keywords: Children; Eating; Feeding Behavior; Hunger; Internal Cues; Preschool.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.