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Appetite. 2018 Apr 1;123:152-159. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.12.018. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Emotion-driven impulsiveness and snack food consumption of European adolescents: Results from the I.Family study.

Author information

Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Translational Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Altrecht Eating Disorders Rintveld, Zeist, The Netherlands.
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS, Bremen, Germany.
Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Strovolos, Cyprus.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Growth, Exercise, NUtrition and Development (GENUD) Research Group, Universidad de Zaragoza, Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Aragón (IIS Aragón), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Nutrición y la Obesidad (CIBEROBN), Zaragoza, Spain.
Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, Avellino, Italy.
Department of Pediatrics, Medical Faculty, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Department of Chronic Diseases, National Institute for Health Development, Tallinn, Estonia.
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS, Bremen, Germany. Electronic address:


We aimed to investigate the association between emotion-driven impulsiveness and snack food consumption in 1039 European adolescents aged 12-18 years. During the cross-sectional examination in 2013/2014, complete information was collected on: emotion-driven impulsiveness (using the negative urgency subscale from the Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, Sensation seeking, and Positive urgency (UPPS-P) Impulsive Behaviour Scale) and snacking behaviour operationalised as 1) consumption frequency of daily snacks, 2) consumption frequency of energy-dense snacks (both measured using Food Frequency Questionnaire) and 3) usual energy intake of food consumed per snacking occasion in calories. The latter was measured using online self-administered 24-h dietary recalls and was estimated based on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Method. Anthropometric variables were measured and BMI z-score (zBMI) calculated. Age, sex, highest education level of the family and country of residence were assessed using a questionnaire. Mixed-effect regression analyses were separately conducted for each snacking behaviour outcome with emotion-driven impulsiveness as the exposure. After controlling for zBMI, age, sex, country and socioeconomic status, emotion-driven impulsiveness was positively associated with daily consumption frequency of snacks (β = 0.07, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) [0.02, 0.12]) and consumption frequency of energy-dense snacks (β = 0.25, 95% CI [0.19, 0.31]), but not with usual energy intake of food per snacking (β = 2.52, 95% CI [-0.55, 5.59]). Adolescents with a stronger emotion-driven impulsiveness tendency reported a higher snacking frequency and specifically more energy-dense snacks, whereas the energy intake of snack food seemed less important. These findings have implications for obesity prevention and treatment as they indicate the importance of targeting emotion-driven impulsiveness as a strategy to avoid excessive snacking.


Body mass index; Children; Energy-dense snacks; Europe; Negative urgency; Snacking frequency

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