The moderating role of eating behaviour traits in the association between exposure to hot food takeaway outlets and body fatness.
International journal of obesity (2005) 2023
PubMed ID : 36918687
Previous studies demonstrated a relation between takeaway outlet exposure and health outcomes. Individual characteristics, such as eating behaviour traits, could make some people more susceptible to the influence of the food environment. Few studies have investigated this topic. We aimed to investigate the moderating role of eating behaviour traits (cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating) in the association between neighbourhood exposure to hot food takeaway outlets (hereafter referred to as takeaway outlets), and takeaway food consumption and adiposity.
We used cross-sectional data from a cohort in Cambridgeshire, UK (The Fenland study). Takeaway outlet exposure was derived using participants' residential address and data from local authorities and divided into quarters. The Three Factor Eating questionnaire (TFEQ-R18) was used to measure eating behaviour traits. Primary outcomes were consumption of takeaway-like foods (derived from food frequency questionnaire), and body fat percentage (measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry).
Mean age of participants (n = 4791) was 51.0 (SD = 7.2) and 53.9% were female. Higher exposure to takeaway outlets in the neighbourhood and higher eating behaviour trait scores were independently associated with greater takeaway consumption and body fat percentage. Uncontrolled eating did not moderate the associations between takeaway outlet exposure and takeaway consumption or body fat percentage. The association between takeaway outlet exposure and takeaway consumption was slightly stronger in those with higher cognitive restraint scores, and the association between takeaway outlet exposure and body fat percentage was slightly stronger in those with lower emotional eating scores.
Eating behaviour traits and exposure to takeaway outlets were associated with greater takeaway consumption and body fat, but evidence that individuals with certain traits are more susceptible to takeaway outlets was weak. The findings indicate that interventions at both the individual and environmental levels are needed to comprehensively address unhealthy diets.
Studies show that the environment can affect our behaviour and is contributing to the increases in people with obesity. For example, people who live near fast food restaurants tend to eat more takeout food and gain weight. Yet, some people are less influenced by their environment and are able to maintain a healthy weight irrespective of where they live. We wanted to find out if eating behaviour traits affect how much a person is influenced by their residential food environment. People who tend to eat when they're upset or people with a heightened appetite (two eating behaviour traits) might be more likely to eat takeout food if they live near a fast food restaurant. The third type of eating behaviour trait is controlling food intake to achieve a desirable weight. People with high levels of this eating behaviour trait may be more able to resist the residential food environment compared to people with lower levels of this eating behaviour trait. This study can help us figure out which individual factors, like eating behaviour traits, make people more likely to be affected by their environment. With this information, we can decide which groups of people are most likely to benefit from environmental changes, like making it easier to buy healthy food.
We studied nearly 4800 people and found that living near fast food restaurants and having certain eating behaviour traits (i.e. people who tend to eat when they're upset or people with a heightened appetite) was related with greater consumption of takeout food and body fat percentage. Also, being good in controlling food intake to achieve a desirable weight was related with less consumption of takeout food, and greater body fat percentage. We found that having a heightened appetite did not make you more or less susceptible to the residential food environment. Yet, being good at controlling what you eat was related to eating more takeout food when living near fast food restaurants, but it was not related to gaining weight. Not eating when you’re upset was related to more weight gain if you lived near fast food restaurants, but it was not related to eating more takeout food. These results were contrary to our expectations and effect sizes were generally small. Even so, the results imply that it's important to help people make healthy choices both individually and by making it easier for them to eat healthy food in their environment.