Obesity and being overweight are characterized by excess body weight from fat, and are associated with many negative health outcomes. Attachment style has been implicated in the etiology of obesity in youth. The present study examined the relationship between attachment style and body mass index (BMI) in a large community sample of Ontario youth, as well as examined possible mediating mechanisms of this relationship (restrained, emotional, and external eating), while controlling for covariates. Results indicate that insecure attachment was associated with increased BMI, and that this relationship was significantly mediated by restrained eating behaviour. This mediational pathway was moderated by gender; the pathway was stronger for girls than for boys, but was significant for both. These findings suggest that it may be important to take attachment history into account when designing treatment and prevention strategies for obesity in youth.
Keywords: overweight, obesity, attachment, restrained eating