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Investigating sex differences in psychological predictors of snack intake among a large representative sample

, : Investigating sex differences in psychological predictors of snack intake among a large representative sample. Public Health Nutrition 19(4): 625-632

It is often assumed that there are substantial sex differences in eating behaviour (e.g. women are more likely to be dieters or emotional eaters than men). The present study investigates this assumption in a large representative community sample while incorporating a comprehensive set of psychological eating-related variables. A community sample was employed to: (i) determine sex differences in (un)healthy snack consumption and psychological eating-related variables (e.g. emotional eating, intention to eat healthily); (ii) examine whether sex predicts energy intake from (un)healthy snacks over and above psychological variables; and (iii) investigate the relationship between psychological variables and snack intake for men and women separately. Snack consumption was assessed with a 7d snack diary; the psychological eating-related variables with questionnaires. Participants were members of an Internet survey panel that is based on a true probability sample of households in the Netherlands. Men and women (n 1292; 45 % male), with a mean age of 51·23 (sd 16·78) years and a mean BMI of 25·62 (sd 4·75) kg/m2. Results revealed that women consumed more healthy and less unhealthy snacks than men and they scored higher than men on emotional and restrained eating. Women also more often reported appearance and health-related concerns about their eating behaviour, but men and women did not differ with regard to external eating or their intentions to eat more healthily. The relationships between psychological eating-related variables and snack intake were similar for men and women, indicating that snack intake is predicted by the same variables for men and women. It is concluded that some small sex differences in psychological eating-related variables exist, but based on the present data there is no need for interventions aimed at promoting healthy eating to target different predictors according to sex.


PMID: 25895543

DOI: 10.1017/S136898001500097X

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