Addictive Eating and Its Relation to Physical Activity and Sleep Behavior (2018)

Nutrients. 2018 Oct 4;10(10). pii: E1428. doi: 10.3390/nu10101428.

Li JTE1,2, Pursey KM3,4, Duncan MJ5,6, Burrows T7,8.


The obesity epidemic has led to the exploration of factors contributing to its etiology. Addictive eating, physical activity, and sleep behaviors have all been independently associated with obesity, and recent research suggests plausible interrelationships between food addiction, physical activity, and sleep. This study aims to investigate the relationship between food addiction with physical activity and sleep behavior. Australian adults were invited to complete an online survey which collected information including: demographics, food addiction symptoms, physical activity, sitting time and sleep behavior items. The sample comprised 1344 individuals with a mean age of 39.8 ± 13.1 years (range 18⁻91), of which 75.7% were female. Twenty-two percent of the sample met the criteria for a diagnosis of food addiction as per the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS 2.0) criteria, consisting of 0.7% with a “mild” addiction, 2.6% “moderate”, and 18.9% classified as having a “severe” food addiction. Food-addicted individuals had significantly less physical activity (1.8 less occasions walking/week, 32 min less walking/week, 58 min less moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA)/week; p < 0.05), reported sitting for longer on weekends (83 min more on weekends/week; p < 0.001), and reported significantly more symptoms of poorer-quality sleep (more likely to snore, more likely to have fallen asleep while driving, reported more days of daytime falling asleep; p < 0.05) compared to non-food-addicted individuals. These differences were also observed in those with a “severe” food addiction classification. The present study suggests frequency and duration of physical activity, time spent sitting and sleep duration are associated with food addiction.

KEYWORDS: Yale Food Addiction Scale; food addiction; obesity; physical activity; sedentary behavior; sleep behaviors; sleep duration; sleep quality

PMID: 30287736

DOI: 10.3390/nu10101428