University of Tasmania
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Antecedents and consequences of eating and their role in obesity

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:33 authored by Bower, J
The aim of this research thesis was to provide a preliminary examination of the contextual antecedents and psychological drivers of individual eating patterns, and explore the relationship between these patterns and mechanisms that mediate body mass index (BMI). Two related studies focussed on the frequency of snacking behaviour, particularly consumption of energy-dense foods (Study I), and the role of stimulus dependence and hedonic response in maintaining snacking behaviour (Study 2). Using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) methodology, data were collected from 53 participants representing a range of BMI. For 10 consecutive days, participants were asked to log every instance of eating and drinking that occurred and to respond to survey questions about the situational context of eating episodes. Although the average snacking frequency was low overall, a relatively large proportion of food consumed was energy-dense, and higher BMI was shown to be significantly associated with increased frequency of snacking. Stimulus dependent (i.e. cue-driven) eating did have a role in participants' eating patterns, compared to hedonic (i.e. reward-driven) response which was not found to influence future eating decisions. However, neither of these eating motives was found to be associated with baseline BMI. These results give valuable insight into the complexity of individual eating patterns, and have important implications for weight management interventions and national health outcomes.


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Copyright 2013 the author

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