Intuitive Eating, Diet Quality, Body Mass Index and Abnormal Eating: A Cross-Sectional Study in Young Turkish Women

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Serra Atalay
Murat Baş
Berna Eren
Esen Karaca
Dilşat Baş


Intuitive eating, diet quality, body mass index, abnormal eating behaviour


Intuitive eating is an eating style that promotes a healthy attitude towards food and body image. Intuitive eaters would have more nutritious dietary intake and more positive eating patterns than non-intuitive eaters. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between intuitive eating, body mass index (BMI), abnormal eating behaviour and quality of dietary intake among young women in Turkey. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Istanbul on a total of 548 women aged 19 to 32 years who volunteered to participate in the study. Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score was 29.96±10.39, 58.77±6.83 and 84.59±3.89 points for healthy eating index category, respectively. In the “poor” eating category, body mass index values were significantly higher than the “needs improvement” and “good” categories (p<0.05). Also, total scores and subscale scoresof Intuitive Eating Scale-2 (IES-2) [except for Unconditional Permission to Eat (UPE)] were significantly higher than the “needs improvement” and “good” categories (p<0.05). The analyses showed significant correlation between the HEI score of participants and body mass index (r= -0.264;p<0.01), total score of IES-2 (r= 0.636;p<0.01), Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) (r= -0.186; p< 0.01). The total score of IES-2 was significantly inversely correlated with body mass index (r= -0.282;p < 0.01) and EAT-26 score (r= -0.297;p<0.01) in participants. In addition, the correlation analyses showed significant correlationbetween all the subscales of IES-2 and HEI scores (p<0.05). As a conclusion, our findings reveal that intuitive eating is positively related to diet quality, weight status and abnormal eating in young women; and that women who had more intuitive dietary choices respond to their physiological needs. Although our study is a cross-sectional analysis; the findings are in accordance with the idea that intuitive eating can offer a more holistic and long-term weight control approach compared to other traditional body weight management strategies. Further prospective studies, which use sampling methods to ensure they are representative of the population in which they are examining, as well as to minimize potential sampling bias are needed to examine these relationships.


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