Previous studies reveal that the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), which assesses eating behaviour, performs differently across population groups and cultures. We aimed to identify the factor structure that is most appropriate to capture eating behaviour in an overweight and obese Chinese population in Singapore.
TFEQ-51 was administered to 444 Chinese subjects pooled from four separate studies and scored according to various alternative versions of the TFEQ. Confirmatory factor analyses and goodness of fit indices were used to determine the most appropriate factor structure. Known-group validity analyses were conducted.
Niemeier's Disinhibition Factors and the TFEQ-R18 factor structures were found to be the most applicable in our population based on goodness of fit indices, with a x2/df ratio of <3, RMSEA of ≤0.6 and a CFI value of >0.9 for both. Only two of three factors (Emotional Eating and Uncontrolled Eating) of the TFEQ-R18 showed good internal consistency, while none of Niemeier's Disinhibition Factors showed good internal consistency. Known-group validity showed that Emotional Eating and Internal Disinhibition were significantly associated with higher BMI.
We found that the TFEQ-R18 factor structure is the most appropriate and practical for use in measuring eating behaviour in an overweight and obese Chinese population in Singapore.