Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):578-86. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.068965. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Food-addiction scale measurement in 2 cohorts of middle-aged and older women.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Epidemiology (AJF, AEF, and EBR) and Nutrition (AJF and EBR), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; the Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (ANG); the Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ (WRC); the Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT (KDB); the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA (AEF); the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA (AEF and EBR); and the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (AEF).



Excess weight is a major threat to public health. An addiction-like tendency toward certain foods may contribute to overeating.


We aimed to describe the prevalence and associated characteristics in relation to a food-addiction scale in middle-aged and older women.


We examined the prevalence and associated characteristics of a food-addiction scale measure in a cross-sectional analysis of 134,175 women participating in 2 ongoing prospective cohort studies of US nurses.


Overall, 7839 (5.8%) of the women surveyed met the criteria for food addiction measured by using the modified Yale Food Addiction Scale. The prevalence of food addiction was 8.4% in the younger cohort of women aged 45-64 y and 2.7% in the older cohort of women aged 62-88 y. In the multivariate model, body mass index (BMI; in kg/m²) ≥ 35.0 (compared with 18.5-22.9) was associated with food addiction, a prevalence ratio (PR) of 15.83 (95% CI: 12.58, 19.91) in the younger cohort of women, and a PR of 18.41 (95% CI: 11.63, 29.14) in the older cohort of women. Several other demographic characteristics and other factors were associated with the food-addiction measure in both cohorts of women.


To our knowledge, for the first time in a large, US-based population of women, we documented the prevalence of food addiction by using a novel measurement scale in middle-aged and older women. The results may provide insight into the strong association between behavioral attributes of food consumption and the development of obesity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk