Objective: The current study evaluated the comparative implications of self-weighing and calorie counting versus intuitive eating (IE) on the eating disorder (ED) severity of college students.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, college students in the US [N = 902; 68% female; mean body mass index (BMI) = 24.3] completed the web-based Healthy Bodies Study in 2015.
Results: A hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that elevated BMI, more frequent self-weighing and calorie counting, and lower IE scores predicted increased ED severity. The results of Kruskal-Wallis H tests indicated that participants with elevated weight statuses engaged in self-weighing and calorie counting more frequently, and possessed lower IE scores, than their lower weight counterparts.
Conclusion: Engaging in self-weighing and calorie counting was adversely associated with ED severity among the present sample of college students. Cultivating IE within health promotion efforts may, instead, lead to favorable eating-related outcomes that may translate to the holistic health of this population.
Level of evidence: V cross-sectional descriptive study.
Keywords: Eating disorders; Intuitive eating; Obesity; Self-monitoring; Young adult.