Prevalence of food addiction and its relationship to body mass index

  • Alaa Youssef Ahmed
  • Amany Mohammed Sayed

Abstract

Background: Food addiction (FA) is a new terminology that simulates craving for food to drug addiction. It is recently measured by the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS). It was speculated that FA is incriminated in the current obesity epidemic. Egypt is one of the highest African countries in the prevalence of obesity.
Aim: Estimation of the prevalence of FA in Egyptian adolescents and exploration of its relationship to the body mass index (BMI). Subjects and methods This study included 801 adolescents aged 11–18 years recruited by a multistage cluster sampling technique from preparatory and secondary school students distributed in Cairo. All the included subjects had their weight and height measured followed by calculation of the BMI then they were interviewed by the YFAS. The diagnosis of FA was made if there wereP3 symptoms with clinically significant impairment.
Results: FA prevalence was 15.7% in the studied sample. The most prevalent FA symptom was tolerance which was present in 52.1% of the sample. FA diagnosis didn’t differ across the different BMI categories; however, all of the FA symptoms showed significant differences in relation to the BMI when classified as normal, overweight and obese except for the symptom of tolerance.
Conclusion: FA exists in one sixth of Egyptian adolescents. FA symptoms rather than FA diagnosis differed in the different BMI categories.

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eISSN: 1110-8630