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Appetite. 2013 Aug;67:22-4. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Exploration of "food addiction" in overweight and obese treatment-seeking adults.

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Department of Psychology, Temple University, 400 Weiss Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA.


There is growing interest in conceptualizing obesity as a "food addiction." The current study investigated the prevalence and correlates of "food addiction" (FA), as defined by the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) in 178 (133 F, 45M) persons seeking weight loss treatment. Participants had a mean age of 51.2±11.7years and a body mass index of 36.1±4.8kg/m(2). Fifteen percent of individuals met the YFAS proposed diagnostic criteria for FA. Those who met criteria for FA reported significantly greater depressive symptomatology. There were no differences in BMI, age, race, or gender between participants with and without FA. Among those not meeting criteria, 35% reported 3 or more symptoms in the absence of self-reported clinical distress or impairment. YFAS symptom count was also significantly correlated with depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that 15% of adults presenting for weight loss treatment meet YFAS criteria for FA. The clinical significance of this classification is unknown and needs to be validated in prospective studies.

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