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2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Correlation between Stress and Calorie Consumption
The incidence of chronic stress in the United States continues to increase. Chronic stress can be brought on by a multitude of factors including one's job, school, family, finances or traumatic stress. Stress is seen as just a nuisance to most; however it may also be contributing to the nation's epidemic of obesity. Most people under chronic stress seek out energy dense foods and increase their calorie consumption. This study evaluated stress levels of 200 college students at the University of Kentucky and how eating patterns are associated with stress. Surveys asked questions for students to rank their stress levels as well as the estimated calories and food preferences. The results showed that there is a positive correlation between stress and increase of calorie consumption (p=0.03), and a correlation between intakes of high fat/high sugar foods (p=0.05). The results also showed that there is a difference between male and female eating habits in response to stress.