Daily distracted consumption patterns and their relationship with BMI

Floor van Meer*, Frank de Vos, Roel C.J. Hermans, Paul A. Peeters, Lotte F. van Dillen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The rapidly increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity has heightened the need for a better understanding of obesity-related eating patterns and dietary behaviours. Recent work suggests that distracted eating is causally related to increased immediate and later food, pushing the need for a better understanding of the prevalence of distracted consumption and how this relates to body weight. To extract insights in the relationship between demographics, daily consumption settings, and BMI, we performed secondary data analyses on data from 1011 individuals representative of the Dutch population (adults, 507F, BMI 17–50 kg/m2). The most commonly reported distractions were talking to others (32.7%) and watching television (21.7%). Only 18.4% of respondents reported no distractions during meals. To examine how different distractions related to BMI, we performed OLS regression which showed, among other things, that watching tv while eating lunch (η2 = 0.37) and working during dinner were associated with a higher BMI (η2 = 1.63). To examine the robustness of these findings, machine learning techniques were used. A random forest analysis (RMSE = 4.09) showed that next to age and education level, distraction during lunch and snack was amongst the largest predictors of BMI. Multiple linear regression with lasso penalty (RMSE = 4.13) showed that specifically watching tv while eating lunch or snacks was associated with a higher BMI. In conclusion, our analyses confirmed the assumption that people are regularly distracted during their daily meals, with distinct distractors relating to BMI. These findings provide a starting point for evidence-based recommendations on which consumption settings are associated with healthier eating patterns and body weight.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106136
JournalAppetite
Volume176
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes

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