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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Obesity (Silver Spring)

Publication Date





301 - 304


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