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Eat Behav. 2018 Aug;30:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2018.05.007. Epub 2018 May 12.

Ecological momentary assessment of food perceptions and eating behavior using a novel phone application in adults with or without obesity.

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College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK; Department of Physical Education and Sport, College of Basic Education, The Public Authority of Applied Education, Kuwait.
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Bangor, UK.
Department of Personal Health, Philips Research, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.
College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK. Electronic address:


We developed a smart phone application to measure participants' food-reward perceptions and eating behavior in their naturalistic environment. Intensity ratings (0 - not at all to 10 - very strongly) of perceived anticipation of food (wanting) and food enjoyment at endpoint of intake (liking) were recorded as they occurred over a period of 14 days. Moreover, food craving trait, implicit and explicit attitude towards healthy food, and body composition were assessed. 53 participants provided complete data. Participants were classified by percentage of body fat; 33 participants with lower body fat (L-group) and 20 with higher body fat (H-group; ≥25% body fat for males and ≥32% for females). L-group participants reported 6.34 (2.00) food wanting events per day, whereas H-group participants recorded significantly fewer food wanting events (5.07 (1.42)); both groups resisted about the same percentage of wanting events (L-group: 29.2 (15.5)%; H-group 27.3 (12.8)%). Perceived intensity ratings were significantly different within the L-group in the order liking (7.65 (0.81)) > un-resisted wanting (leading to eating) (7.00 (1.01)) > resisted wanting (not leading to eating) (6.02 (1.72)) but not in the H-group. Liking scores (L-group: 7.65 (0.81); H-group: 7.14 (1.04)) were significantly higher in L-group than in H-group after controlling for age. Our results show that individuals with higher percentage of body fat show less food enjoyment after intake and reveal no differentiation in intensity ratings of perceived anticipatory and consummatory food reward. These results are consistent with a hypothesized reward deficiency among individuals with higher percentage of body fat.


Craving; Eating; Ecological momentary assessment; Food reward; Obesity

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