Intuitive Eating, Diet Composition, and the Meaning of Food in Healthy Weight Promotion
Authors: Smith, TeriSue; Hawks, Steven R.
Source: American Journal of Health Education, Volume 37, Number 3, May/June 2006 , pp. 130-136(7)
Abstract:Intuitive eating (an anti-dieting, hunger-based approach to eating) has been popularized as a viable approach to healthy weight management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between intuitive eating, diet composition, and the meaning of food. The convenience sample included 343 students enrolled in a general education course at a Western university. Participants were given paper-and-pencil surveys containing the Intuitive Eating Scale and a variety of diet-related scales adapted from other studies. Each scale/subscale was evaluated for internal consistency and deemed acceptable. Those scoring high in intuitive eating had lower BMI scores (r=-.327, p<.001), less health-consciousness in relation to food (r=-.209, p<.001), and higher levels of pleasure associated with food and eating (r=.484, p<.001). No negative aspect of diet composition was correlated with intuitive eating or any of its sub-scales. Mean comparisons showed a significant difference between males and females in intuitive eating, dieting, health consciousness, and eating for pleasure (p<.001). In general, high intuitive eating scores were associated with an increase in the enjoyment and pleasure of food, lower BMI scores, and fewer dieting behaviors and food anxieties. The promotion of intuitive eating as one approach to healthy weight management should continue to be explored.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2006-05-01
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