What Role Does Mood Play In The Development Of Unhealthy Eating?Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry
Also Included In: Anxiety / Stress | Women's Health / Gynecology | Nutrition / Diet
Article Date: 20 Mar 2013
Unhealthy eating behaviors may worsen the moods of women who are worried about their diet and self image, researchers from Pennsylvania State University revealed.
Kristin Heron, research associate at the Survey Research Center, and team found that college-age females who are concerned about their eating behaviors tend to have moods that get worse after episodes of disordered eating.
Disordered eating refers to unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating. The person has an unhealthy relationship with food and/or their body, one that undermines their quality of life and may affect their overall physical, mental or emotional health. People involved in disordered eating behaviors might not fit the full criteria of a traditional eating disorder, such as binge-eating disorder, bulimia or anorexia; they are usually within the range of healthy weight and do not exhibit behaviors all the time.
"There was little in the way of mood changes right before the unhealthy eating behaviors," said Heron. "However, negative mood was significantly higher after these behaviors."
Heron explained that individuals with disordered eating patterns may binge eat and lose control over eating and how much food they consume.
The researchers presented their study-findings at the American Psychosomatic Society Conference, Miami, Florida.
The study participants appeared to show little change in mood before an unhealthy eating bout. While disordered eating was followed by worsening moods "a positive mood did not change either before or after any of the behaviors studied by the researchers."
Handheld computers were given to 131 women who were concerned about their weight and body shape. They all had high levels of unhealthy eating, but none of them had an eating disorder.
The handheld computer would prompt the women to answer questions regarding their eating behaviors and moods.
"What we know about mood and eating behaviors comes primarily from studies with eating disorder patients or from laboratory studies. We were interested in studying women in their everyday lives to see whether mood changed before or after they engaged in unhealthy eating and weight control behaviors."
Co-author Joshua Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health, said that their findings may help health care professionals devise more effective treatments for women with eating problems.
Smyth said "This study is unique because it evaluates moods and eating behaviors as they occur in people's daily lives, which can provide a more accurate picture of the relationship between emotions and eating. The results from this study can help us to better understand the role mood may play in the development and maintenance of unhealthy eating, and weight-control behaviors, which could be useful for creating more effective treatment programs for people with eating and weight concerns."
Disordered eating behaviors have been extensively studiedSeveral studies have been carried out on disordered eating, which tends to affect females more than males. Below are some examples:
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