Disinhibition Linked to Impaired Metabolism in Obese Women

Disinhibition Linked to Impaired Metabolism in Obese Women
Disinhibition Linked to Impaired Metabolism in Obese Women
In obese women, detrimental eating and behavioral characteristics may be associated with worse insulin resistance.

SAN DIEGO — Obese women with disinhibition, defined as detrimental eating and behavioral characteristics, are more likely to have impaired metabolism, research presented at ENDO 2015 suggests.

“Obese females who are particularly unlikely to lose weight are also those who need to lose weight the most,” Julia Passyn Dunn, MD, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a press release.

“Those with an eating/behavioral characteristic that especially limits their weight loss also have the most derangement of their metabolism from their elevated weight.”

To test the hypothesis that increased disinhibition would occur with a more detrimental metabolic phenotype in people with obesity, the researchers studied obese women (mean age, 39 years in low disinhibition group vs. 37 years in those with high disinhibition) with low disinhibition (n=8) and high disinhibition (n=9) who were free of diabetes at baseline.

Both groups had similar BMI (41 and 38, respectively); total body weight (both 106 kg); body fat mass (42% vs. 44%) and lean mass (58% vs. 57%).

Although Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) restraint scores were comparable (10 vs. 8), hunger scores tended to be higher in those with high disinhibition scores (3 vs. 6; P=.05), the researchers reported.

Binge eating scale (BES) scores as well as Beck Depression Inventory -II (BDI-II) scores were not significantly different between the two groups, with the low disinhibition group reporting a BDI-II score of 4 compared with the high disinhibition group reporting a score of 11 (P=.036).

Despite comparable body weight and composition, the study participants with high disinhibition had twice the insulin resistance as those with low disinhibition scores (5.5 vs. 2.7). Fasting insulin, leptin and acyl ghrelin levels were comparable in both groups, the researchers found.

“When comparing females with obesity and similar body weight and composition, high disinhibition occurs with more severe insulin resistance and more symptoms of depression,” Dr. Dunn said.

“In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, those with increased disinhibition scores have longer disease duration and poorer quality of life compared to patients with lower disinhibition.”


  1. Dunn JP et al. Abstract THR-579. Presented at: The Endocrine Society’s 97th Annual Meeting & Expo (ENDO 2015); March 5-8, 2015; San Diego.