Prevalence of Food Addiction among Low-Income Reproductive-Aged Women

Abbey B. Berenson, Tabassum H. Laz, Ali M. Pohlmeier, Mahbubur Rahman, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Hyperpalatable foods (i.e., high in salt, sugar, or fat) have been shown to have addictive properties that may contribute to overeating. Prior studies conducted on food addiction behaviors are mostly based on white and middle-aged women. Data are not available, however, on reproductive-aged women from other races/ethnicities or low-income women. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of food addiction among multiethnic women of low socioeconomic status. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of health behaviors, including food addiction according to the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) between July 2010 and February 2011 among 18-to 40-year-old low-income women attending reproductive-health clinics (Nâ‰=â‰1,067). Results: Overall, 2.8% of women surveyed met the diagnosis of food addiction. The prevalence of food addiction did not differ by age group, race/ethnicity, education, income, or body mass index categories, tobacco and alcohol use, or physical activity. However, it did differ by level of depression (pâ‰<â‰0.01). The YFAS symptom count score significantly differed by race/ethnicity (pâ‰<â‰0.01) with black women having higher scores than Hispanic women. Racial differences were also observed among some of the YFAS symptoms. Conclusion: These findings demonstrated a low prevalence of food addiction among low-income, reproductive-aged women. Racial differences were observed in the YFAS symptom count score, but not in the overall prevalence of food addition. Additionally, women with food addiction had higher levels of depression than women without food addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-744
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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