A new insight into food addiction in childhood obesity

Turk J Pediatr. May-Jun 2015;57(3):219-24.

Abstract

Uncontrolled eating behavior in obese subjects is very similar to behavior in food addiction, suggesting a relationship. This study was designed to evaluate the relationship between childhood obesity and food addiction and to determine the frequency of food addiction among obese children and adolescents. The study included 100 overweight and obese children. Food addiction was evaluated by the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS). The cutoff value for food addiction was defined as the presence of 3 or more symptoms. Participants were between 10 and 18 years of age; 63% were girls. Of the participants, 71% had food addiction. The most addictive foods were chocolate, ice cream, carbonated beverages, French fries, white bread, rice, candy, chips and pasta, in decreasing order of frequency. Experiencing a frequent feeling of hunger was associated with a 2.2-fold increase in food addiction risk, while consumption of French fries ≥1-2 times per week was associated with a 2.3-fold increase in risk (p<0.05). The high YFAS scores in obese and overweight adolescents suggest that food addiction plays an important role in childhood obesity. Evaluation of food addiction in more detail may open a new perspective on the prevention and treatment of obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Child
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires