2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: Psychological stress is heavily linked to a change in food selection. In particular, women under stress seem to increase consumption of foods high in calories, fat, and sugar that they otherwise would not consume in a neutral psychological state. Substantiating this link between stress and weight gain can help make women more aware of how stress can affect one's physical health.
Objective/Methods: To observe the relationship between mind state and food, a survey was administered. The survey inquired upon information about height, weight, stress level and frequency, and food preference during neutral and stressed moods. BMI was used an indicator as to whether a woman consumed more high calorie foods when stressed.
Subjects/Setting: Surveys were administered on the University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community and Technical College campuses. Subjects included 213 undergraduate female students, ages 18-24 years.
Main Outcome: It was found that there was a significant difference in the BMI's of those who were highly stressed more frequently (25.3±6.1 kg/m2) and those who were slightly stressed less frequently (22.6±3.7 kg/m2). Furthermore, it was found that when stressed, an average of 66% of women preferred the more unhealthy choices compared to just 22% while not stressed.