Journal of Food and Nutritional DisordersISSN: 2324-9323

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The Ability of Eating Behaviors to Predict Obesity and Cardiovascular Hyperactivity

The Ability of Eating Behaviors to Predict Obesity and Cardiovascular Hyperactivity

The present study examined the ability of eating behaviors to predict obesity and cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Obesity was operationally defined by Body Mass Index (BMI) which was calculated from the participant’s height and weight. According to Scherwitz and Kesten, unhealthy eating behaviors were defined as food fretting, emotional eating, preference for fast food, task snacking, lack of food appreciation, and the tendency to eat in an active and stressful eating environment. Ninety eight African American college students (21 men, 77 women) between the ages of 18-43 participated in this study. A Hypertension Diagnostic Pulsewave CR 2000 cardiovascular profiling instrument was used to measure heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, stroke volume, and cardiac output. The Your Eating Style Profile questionnaire was used to measure eating behaviors. A Multiple Regression and Correlation analyses revealed that Food Fretting, Emotional Eating, and Sensory, Spiritual Nourishment were negatively associated with cardiovascular reactivity to stress. In addition, Eating Atmosphere and Task Snacking were positively associated with blood pressure responses to stress. A Multiple regression also revealed that Food Fretting significantly predicted BMI, indicating that those participants who worried about the food they ate had greater levels of obesity than their counterparts. The first major finding showed that as hypothesized participants with healthier eating behaviors (low levels of; food fretting, emotional eating, and sensory, spiritual nourishment) were less emotionally aroused by the emotional arousing stimulus. The second major finding revealed that participants who eat in a tense and hectic eating environment and those who snack while performing daily tasks had lower blood pressure responses to the emotional arousing stimulus. The third major finding revealed that although Fast food/Fresh food did not predict any of the cardiovascular measures, it was significantly correlated with all three measures of blood pressure. The correlations revealed that unexpectedly, individuals with a preference for fresh food had higher blood pressures than those with a preference for fast food.

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