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Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jun;97(6):1307-13. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.054916. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Sex and dieting modify the association between emotional eating and weight status.

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Nutritional Epidemiology Research Unit, Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (U557), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomiqu (U1125), Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Bobigny, France.



Unlike other psychological correlates of weight status, emotional eating (EmE) has received relatively limited attention in the literature.


We aimed to examine the association between the EmE score and weight status and the influence of sex and dieting on this association.


A total of 8580 men and 27,061 women aged ≥18 y who participated in the NutriNet-Santé cohort study were selected in this cross-sectional analysis. Self-reported weight and height, EmE scores of the revised 21-item version of the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, and dieting status data were collected. The relation between EmE and weight status was estimated by using multiple linear and logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. Interactions of EmE with sex and dieting history were assessed.


Median EmE scores were greater in women than in men and in former or current dieters than in subjects without a history of dieting. Strong associations appeared between the EmE score and weight status in most categories of sex × dieting status. The strongest associations between EmE and weight status were observed in women, particularly in never dieters [body mass index slope (95% CI): 2.61 (2.43, 2.78); overweight OR (95% CI): 5.06 (4.24, 6.05)].


These observations support the existence of an association between EmE and weight status. The effect modification of sex and dieting on the EmE score and on the association of the EmE score with weight status should be taken into account in obesity prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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