Belief in Food Addiction and Obesity-Related Policy Support.

PLoS ONE. 2016;11(1):e0147557 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0147557


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Erica M Schulte

Hannah M Tuttle

Ashley N Gearhardt


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

OBJECTIVES:This study examines whether belief in the food addiction construct is associated with support for obesity-related policies (e.g., restrictions on foods served in schools and workplace cafeterias, subsidies on fruits and vegetables), while simultaneously examining other factors associated with policy support (e.g., political party affiliation). DESIGN:Cross-sectional. SETTING:Online Community. PARTICIPANTS:200 individuals were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. MEASUREMENTS:Participants (n = 193) responded to three questions about belief in food addiction and a measure evaluating support for 13 obesity-related policy initiatives. Individuals also completed the modified Yale Food Addiction Scale (mYFAS), self-reported height and weight, and provided demographic information (age, gender, race, political party affiliation). RESULTS:Belief in food addiction was significantly associated with greater support for obesity-related initiatives, even when accounting for the significant associations of age, gender, and political party. Belief in food addiction and political party both had moderate effect sizes for predicting support for obesity-related policy. There was an interaction between age and belief in food addiction, with significant associations with policy support for both younger and older individuals, though the effect was larger for younger participants. CONCLUSION:The current study provides evidence that belief in food addiction is associated with increased obesity-related policy support, comparable to the influence of one's political party. Growing evidence for the role of an addictive process in obesity may have important implications for public support of obesity-related policy initiatives.