Food addiction and associations with mental health symptoms: A systematic review with meta-analysis


Burrows, T., Kay‐Lambkin, F., Pursey, K., Skinner, J., & Dayas, C. (2018). Food addiction and associations with mental health symptoms: a systematic review with meta‐analysis. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.


Background: The present study systematically reviewed the literature aiming to determine the relationships between food addiction, as measured by the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), and mental health symptoms. Methods: Nine databases were searched using keywords. Studies were included if they reported: (i) YFAS diagnosis or symptom score and (ii) a mental health outcome, as well as the association between (i) and (ii). In total, 51 studies were included. Results: Through meta-analysis, the mean prevalence of food addiction diagnosis was 16.2%, with an average of 3.3 (range 2.85-3.92) food addiction symptoms being reported. Subanalyses revealed that the mean number of food addiction symptoms in populations seeking treatment for weight loss was 3.01 (range 2.65-3.37) and this was higher in groups with disordered eating (mean 5.2 3.6-6.7). Significant positive correlations were found between food addiction and binge eating [mean r = 0.602 (0.557-0.643), P < 0.05], depression, anxiety and food addiction [mean r = 0.459 (0.358-0.550), r = 0.483 (0.228-0.676), P < 0.05, respectively]. Conclusions: A significant, positive relationship exists between food addiction and mental health symptoms, although the results of the present study highlight the complexity of this relationship. © 2018 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.