Eating behaviours and their relationship with selected health behaviours
(2015) Eating behaviours and their relationship with selected health behaviours, no. 36.
Introduction: There is a growing body of research suggesting that weight gain commonly occurs during an individual's university career. However, a large proportion of this research examines merely obesity-related risk factors within the student population, leaving a gap in the knowledge of factors influencing the likelihood of their adoption. It is therefore the responsibility of researchers to provide professional bodies with conclusive information to highlight the pertinence of this issue and encourage intervention. The present study will examine a possible link between eating and lifestyle behaviours within the Scottish student population. Methods: A sample of 14 Queen Margaret University (QMU) students was recruited via the QMU Moderator email. Each participant completed 4 questionnaires; the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), the Scottish Physical Activity Questionnaire (SPAQ) and the NHS Choices Alcohol Self Assessment Questionnaire (ASAQ). Participants were then weighed using calibrated scales and measured using a stadiometer. A score was calculated from each questionnaire, using validated methods, and Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated. Results: Correlation analysis revealed positive relationships between emotional eating and uncontrolled eating behaviours (p = 0.012, r = 0.649). Additionally, there was a positive association between alcohol consumption and emotional eating (p =0.004, r = (0.721), and uncontrolled eating (p = 0.004, r = 0.716). BMI was positively associated with each of these factors; emotional eating (p = 0.001, r = 0.787), uncontrolled eating (p = 0.02, r = 0.621), alcohol consumption (p = 0.023, r = 0.60). No further statistically significant findings were obtained. Conclusion: In the present study, alcohol consumption was the only lifestyle behaviour which was significantly correlated with eating behaviour. This is inconsistent with previous findings which suggest that associations exist between eating behaviour and other lifestyle factors including food frequency and physical activity. Further research using larger sample sizes is required to form more conclusive evidence on the topic. Key words: Students, eating behaviour, TFEQ, FFQ r-18, SPAQ, alcohol.