Food-addiction scale measurement in 2 cohorts of middle-aged and older women

Alan J. Flint, Ashley N. Gearhardt, William Corbin, Kelly D. Brownell, Alison E. Field, Eric B. Rimm

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88 Scopus citations


Background: Excess weight is a major threat to public health. An addiction-like tendency toward certain foods may contribute to overeating. Objective: We aimed to describe the prevalence and associated characteristics in relation to a food-addiction scale in middle-aged and older women. Design: We examined the prevalence and associated characteristics of a food-addiction scale measure in a cross-sectional analysis of 134,175 women participating in 2 ongoing prospective cohort studies of US nurses. Results: Overall, 7839 (5.8%) of the women surveyed met the criteria for food addiction measured by using the modified Yale Food Addiction Scale. The prevalence of food addiction was 8.4% in the younger cohort of women aged 45-64 y and 2.7% in the older cohort of women aged 62-88 y. In the multivariate model, body mass index (BMI; in kg/m 2) ≥35.0 (compared with 18.5-22.9) was associated with food addiction, a prevalence ratio (PR) of 15.83 (95% CI: 12.58, 19.91) in the younger cohort of women, and a PR of 18.41 (95% CI: 11.63, 29.14) in the older cohort of women. Several other demographic characteristics and other factors were associated with the food-addiction measure in both cohorts of women. Conclusions: To our knowledge, for the first time in a large, US-based population of women, we documented the prevalence of food addiction by using a novel measurement scale in middle-aged and older women. The results may provide insight into the strong association between behavioral attributes of food consumption and the development of obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-586
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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