Food addiction problems in college students: the relationship between weight-related variables, eating habits, and food choices

Sónia Gonçalves*, Sílvia Félix, Filipa Martins, Olívia Lapenta, Bárbara C. Machado, Eva M. Conceição

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads

Abstract

The concept of food addiction, characterized by a strong urge to overeat highly palatable foods, has gained increased research attention over the last decade. College students are a recognized risk group for manifesting an eating pathology and weight gain due to the changes in eating habits experienced during this period. However, there is a gap in the literature connecting food addiction with eating and weight variables in this population. Thus, the present study aims to characterize food addiction in a sample of college students and enlighten the relationship between food addiction, weight-variables, eating habits, and food choices in this population. A sample of 194 college students (89.2% females) aged between 18 and 32 years old (M = 20.85, SD = 2.78) completed a set of self-reported online questionnaires on Google Forms. Namely, a Sociodemographic and Anthropometric Questionnaire, a questionnaire on Food Choices Characterization, the Eating Habits Scale, and the Portuguese Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0. Thirty (22.2%) participants presented food addiction problems. The logistic regression models utilized suggest that participants in the group with food addiction problems are more likely to seek clinical help to control weight, to consider that they should eat less food high in sugar, and to report lower food adequacy. In sum, this finding highlighted a connection between food addiction, weight dissatisfaction, eating habits, and food choices in college students, a population at risk for developing and retaining eating pathologies. Further research is essential to evaluate and implement interventions regarding food addiction, weight dissatisfaction, eating habits, and food choices in college students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14588
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Eating habits
  • Food addiction
  • Food choices
  • Weight dissatisfaction

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