Using Foods To Cope Promotes Weight Gain

sharma-obesity-chocolateUsing food as a coping strategy is not uncommon.

Now, Mary Boggiano and colleagues from the University of Birmingham, Alabama, in a paper published in Appetite, report that using tasty foods as a coping strategy is associated with weight gain.

The study administered the Palatable Eating Motives Scale (PEMS), which assesses eating for coping motives (e.g., to forget about problems, reduce negative feelings), to 192 college students, who were reexamined after two years (with a few measures in between).

Not too surprisingly, PEMS scores predict changes in BMI over two years.

On a positive note, however, the researchers found that PEMS scores (i.e. using food for coping) can change over time and a reduction in PEMS scores was also associated with a lesser weight gain. In overweight subjects, a reduction in PEMS scores was even associated with modest weight loss.

Thus, the authors suggest that interventions aimed specifically at reducing palatable food intake for coping reasons, should help prevent obesity if this motive-type is identified prior to significant weight gain.

Edmonton, AB