Intuitive eating has been associated with markers of better health in cross-sectional studies, but less is known about long-term associations between intuitive eating and subsequent eating and weight-related behaviors. This study assessed how intuitive eating in early adulthood is related to weight status, dieting, healthy and unhealthy weight control behaviors, and binge eating with loss of control five years later. Young adults (N = 1660) were asked about intuitive eating as part of the 2008–2009 third wave of the Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults) longitudinal cohort study. Weight status, dieting, healthy and unhealthy weight control behaviors, and binge eating with loss of control were assessed during both the third (EAT-III: mean age 25.3 ± 1.5) and fourth (EAT-IV mean age 31.1 ± 1.5) waves. In analyses adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, both male and female intuitive eaters had a lower prevalence of high weight status and lower engagement in dieting, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and binge eating at the 5-year follow-up, compared to non-intuitive eaters. Among women, after additional adjustment for EAT-III values for the respective outcome measures, intuitive eating was unrelated to any of the behaviors studied at 5-year follow-up. Among men, intuitive eating predicted a lower likelihood of engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors (intuitive eaters: 30.0% vs. non-intuitive: 41.9%, p = 0.002) and binge eating (intuitive eaters: 0.9% vs. non-intuitive: 1.5%, p = 0.046) independent of participating in these behaviors at EAT-III. In a population-based sample of young adults, intuitive eating was associated with better markers of eating and weight-related behaviors five years later, suggesting intuitive eating may have potential long-term benefits.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data collection for the study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grant Number R01HL116892 (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). Dr. Christoph's time was supported by grant T32HP22239 from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services under National Research Service Award in Primary Medical Care (PI: I. Borowsky). The time of authors Hooper, Larson, Mason, and Neumark-Sztainer was supported by Grant Number R35HL139853 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). The content of the manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.
- Binge eating
- Intuitive eating
- Weight control
- Young adults
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article