Associations of Food Addiction in a Sample Recruited to Be Nationally Representative of the United States

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2018 Mar;26(2):112-119. doi: 10.1002/erv.2575. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


The current study investigated the prevalence of food addiction and its associations with obesity and demographic factors in a sample recruited to be more nationally representative of the United States than previous research. Individuals (n = 1050) were recruited through Qualtrics' qBus, which sets demographic quotas developed using the United States census reference population. Participants (n = 986) self-reported food addiction, measured by the modified Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0, height, weight, age, gender, race and income. Food addiction was observed in 15% of participants, with greater prevalence in individuals who were younger, Hispanic and/or reported higher annual income. Food addiction prevalence was higher in persons who were underweight or obese, relative to normal weight or overweight. Food addiction was associated with higher body mass index in women and persons who were older, White and/or reported lower income. Identifying the scope of food addiction and individual risk groups may inform public policy initiatives and early intervention efforts. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: food addiction; obesity; substance-use disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Behavior, Addictive / complications*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Food Addiction / epidemiology*
  • Food Addiction / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Thinness / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology