Intuitive Eating and Biomarkers Related to Cardiovascular Disease in Older Adults

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2022 May;54(5):412-421. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2022.01.010.


Objective: Examine whether exercise and diet motivation are associated with 4 biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Data collection involved questionnaires, blood draws, body composition assessments, and accelerometry.

Setting: Small, midwestern college town.

Participants: Community older adults (≥ 58 years of age; n = 79) recruited through convenience sampling; the sample was representative of the population of interest for some demographic characteristics (eg, age and sex) but not representative of other characteristics (eg, level of activity).

Variables measured: Independent variables comprised self-reported intrinsic exercise motivation (Behavioral Regulation for Exercise Questionnaire-3) and intuitive eating (Intuitive Eating Scale-2). Dependent variables included inflammatory proteins (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) and lipid levels (low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides) quantified from blood samples. Covariates included age, body mass index, sex, and objective physical activity measured by accelerometers worn for 7 days.

Analysis: Multiple linear regression was used to assess the association between diet and exercise motivation and biomarker outcomes; we analyzed 4 regression models (1 for each biomarker). Significance level P < 0.05.

Results: Greater intuitive eating was associated with a lower low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein ratio (β = -0.45, P = 0.001) and lower triglycerides (β = -0.37, P = 0.003). Intrinsic exercise motivation was not associated with the biomarkers.

Conclusions and implications: Intuitive eating may be a key determinant of certain biomarkers and could be a viable target for interventions to help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease among older adults.

Keywords: Self-Determination Theory; biomarkers; cardiovascular disease; exercise motivation; intuitive eating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eating
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides