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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.

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  • 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).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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

OBJECTIVE:

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

DESIGN:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

PMID:
24452236
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3927691
Free PMC Article
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