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Appetite. 2009 Feb;52(1):72-82. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Aug 14.

Triggers of eating in everyday life.

Author information

  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, United States. tomiyama@psych.ucla.edu

Abstract

Understanding the triggers of eating in everyday life is crucial for the creation of interventions to promote healthy eating and to prevent overeating. Here, the proximal predictors of eating are explored in a natural setting. Research from laboratory settings suggests that restrained eaters overeat after experiencing anxiety, distraction, and the presence of positive or negative moods, but not hunger; whereas the only factor that triggers eating in unrestrained eaters is hunger. In this study, 137 female participants reported hourly for 2 days on these potential predictors and their eating using electronic diaries, allowing us to establish the relationships between these factors while participants went about their normal daily activities. The main outcome variables were the number of servings eaten and whether or not food was eaten. Contrary to findings from laboratory settings, in everyday life restrained eaters (1) did not overeat in response to anxiety; (2) ate less in the presence of positive or negative moods; and (3) ate more in response to hunger. The relationships between these factors and eating among unrestrained eaters were closer to those found in laboratory settings. In conclusion, predictors of eating must be studied in everyday life to develop successful interventions.

PMID:
18773931
PMCID:
PMC2653432
DOI:
10.1016/j.appet.2008.08.002
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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