Food and Behaviour Research

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Food addiction and associations with mental health symptoms: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Burrows T, Kay-Lambkin F, Pursey K, Skinner J, Dayas C (2018) J Hum Nutr Diet.  2018 Jan 25.  doi: 10.1111/jhn.12532. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

The present study systematically reviewed the literature aiming to determine the relationships between food addiction, as measured by the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), and mental health symptoms.

METHODS:

Nine databases were searched using keywords. Studies were included if they reported: (i) YFAS diagnosis or symptom score and (ii) a mental health outcome, as well as the association between (i) and (ii). In total, 51 studies were included.

RESULTS:

Through meta-analysis, the mean prevalence of food addiction diagnosis was 16.2%, with an average of 3.3 (range 2.85-3.92) food addiction symptoms being reported. Subanalyses revealed that the mean number of food addiction symptoms in populations seeking treatment for weight loss was 3.01 (range 2.65-3.37) and this was higher in groups with disordered eating (mean 5.2 3.6-6.7). Significant positive correlations were found between food addiction and binge eating [mean r = 0.602 (0.557-0.643), P < 0.05], depression, anxiety and food addiction [mean r = 0.459 (0.358-0.550), r = 0.483 (0.228-0.676), P < 0.05, respectively].

CONCLUSIONS:

A significant, positive relationship exists between food addiction and mental health symptoms, although the results of the present study highlight the complexity of this relationship.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

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