Food Addiction: Its Prevalence and Significant Association with Obesity in the General Population

Pedram, Pardis and Wadden, Danny and Amini, Peyvand and Gulliver, Wayne and Randell, Edward and Cahill, Farrell and Vasdev, Sudesh and Goodridge, Alan and Carter, Jacqueline C. and Zhai, Guangju and Ji, Yunqi and Sun, Guang (2013) Food Addiction: Its Prevalence and Significant Association with Obesity in the General Population. PLoS ONE, 8 (9). ISSN 1932-6203

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Background: ‘Food addiction’ shares a similar neurobiological and behavioral framework with substance addiction. However whether, and to what degree, ‘food addiction’ contributes to obesity in the general population is unknown. Objectives: to assess 1) the prevalence of ‘food addiction’ in the Newfoundland population; 2) if clinical symptom counts of ‘food addiction’ were significantly correlated with the body composition measurements; 3) if food addicts were significantly more obese than controls, and 4) if macronutrient intakes are associated with ‘food addiction’. Design: A total of 652 adults (415 women, 237 men) recruited from the general population participated in this study. Obesity was evaluated by Body Mass Index (BMI) and Body Fat percentage measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. ‘Food addiction’ was assessed using the Yale Food Addiction Scale and macronutrient intake was determined from the Willet Food Frequency Questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of ‘food addiction’ was 5.4% (6.7% in females and 3.0% in males) and increased with obesity status. The clinical symptom counts of ‘food addiction’ were positively correlated with all body composition measurements across the entire sample (p,0.001). Obesity measurements were significantly higher in food addicts than controls; Food addicts were 11.7 (kg) heavier, 4.6 BMI units higher, and had 8.2% more body fat and 8.5% more trunk fat. Furthermore, food addicts consumed more calories from fat and protein compared with controls. Conclusion: Our results demonstrated that ‘food addiction’ contributes to severity of obesity and body composition measurements from normal weight to obese individuals in the general population with higher rate in women as compared to men.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 2051
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 4 September 2013
Date Type: Publication

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