The association of serum leptin levels with food addiction is moderated by weight status in adolescent psychiatric inpatients (2018)

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2018 Sep 4. doi: 10.1002/erv.2637.

Peters T1, Antel J1, Föcker M1, Esber S1, Hinney A1, Schéle E2, Dickson SL2, Albayrak Ö3, Hebebrand J1.


Leptin is essential for the control of energy homeostasis and eating behaviour. We investigated potential associations between serum leptin levels and food addiction in adolescent psychiatric inpatients (n = 228). The most frequent psychiatric diagnoses were mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. More than three quarters of the study group suffered from more than one psychiatric disorder. Food addiction was assessed with the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Leptin was determined in serum. Analyses were conducted for the whole body weight range and for distinct weight categories to evaluate a potential impact of known nonlinearity between leptin levels and satiety due to leptin resistance in obese. A weak negative association between food addiction and leptin in normal weight patients (ß = -0.11, p = .022) was detected. In contrast, food addiction was associated with a significantly higher serum leptin (ß = 0.16. p = .038) in overweight patients. Food addiction in normal weight patients might be associated with restrained eating, previously shown to involve reduced leptin levels. The small positive association of food addiction with higher serum leptin in overweight patients might reflect leptin resistance and overeating.

KEYWORDS: addictive behaviour; adolescent; body weight; food addiction; leptin

PMID: 30252189

DOI: 10.1002/erv.2637