Dietary Self-Monitoring Is Associated With Increased Likelihood of Problematic Alcohol Use Among College Students

J Am Coll Health. 2020 Mar 24;1-6. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1741592. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: To assess the relationship between dietary self-monitoring and problematic alcohol use including binge drinking, increased body confidence while drinking, and restricting food intake to compensate for alcohol consumption, among college students. Participants: Undergraduate and graduate students from 12 US colleges participating in the Healthy Bodies Study in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years (n = 10,133). Methods: Weighted prevalence was calculated for dietary self-monitoring and problematic alcohol use. Gender-stratified logistic regressions were used to assess relationships. Results: Knowing nutrition facts was associated with restricting to compensate for alcohol consumption among women (OR = 2.42, p < .0001) and men (OR = 1.64, p = .002). Among women, knowing and counting calories predicted all problematic alcohol use behaviors. Among men, knowing calories was associated with restricting to compensate (OR = 2.69, p < .0001) and counting calories was associated with restricting to compensate (OR = 5.10, p < .0001) and increased body confidence while drinking (OR = 2.25, p < .0001). Conclusions: Dietary self-monitoring predicts problematic alcohol use among college students, particularly women.

Keywords: Alcohol; college students; disordered eating; drunkorexia; self-monitoring.