Eating competence (EC) is characterized by positive attitudes towards food and eating, having regular meals, eating a variety of foods, and internally regulated eating. We investigated the associations of changes in EC with changes in lifestyle, anthropometrics and biomarkers of glucose and lipid metabolism in 2291 adults at increased risk of type 2 diabetes as part of the StopDia study conducted in primary healthcare. EC and diet quality were assessed with validated digital questionnaires. During the intervention, the participants received either (1) the digital lifestyle intervention, (2) the combined digital and face-to-face group-based lifestyle intervention, or (3) standard care. EC increased among the participants independent of the intervention type. Increase in EC was associated with an increase in diet quality, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and with a decrease in body mass index and waist circumference, regardless of baseline EC. Of the subdomains of EC, the contextual skills, food acceptance and eating attitudes were associated with various of these changes. Our results thus suggest that EC could be a potential target in lifestyle interventions aiming to improve the cardiometabolic health of people at type 2 diabetes risk.
Keywords: adiposity; diet; diet quality; eating behavior; glucose metabolism; health care; lifestyle; lipid metabolism; obesity; overweight; prevention; type 2 diabetes.