Factors affecting emotional eating and eating palatable food in adults

Nutr Res Pract. 2020 Feb;14(1):70-75. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2020.14.1.70. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


Background/objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship among emotional eating behavior, tendency to eat palatable foods, and several risk factors.

Subjects/methods: This study was carried out on 2,434 persons (1,736 women and 698 men) aged between 19 and 64 years. A questionnaire form was used as a data collection tool, which consisted of items for the socio-demographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements, Emotional Appetite Questionnaire (EMAQ), and the Palatable Eating Motives Scale (PEMS).

Results: A positive significant correlation was observed between the BMI groups and the negative emotions, negative situations, and negative total scores of EMAQ (P < 0.01). The regression results on negative subscales showed that a one unit increase in BMI resulted in a 0.293 unit increase in negative situations scores, a 0.626 unit increase in negative emotions scores, and a 0.919 unit increase in negative total EMAQ scores. When the BMI groups and PEMS subscale scores were examined, a significant relationship was found in the social motives, rewarding, and conformity subscales (P < 0.01). A one unit increase in BMI increased the coping motives scores by 0.077 units.

Conclusions: The emotional states have a significant effect on the eating behavior. On the other hand, an increase in eating attacks was observed, particularly in people who were under the effect of a negative emotion or situation. Nevertheless, there were some limitations of the study in terms of quantitative determination of the effects of this eating behavior depending on the BMI.

Keywords: BMI; EMAQ; PEMS; emotional eating; motivation eating; palatable food.