Online Program

Intuitive eating: Associations with BMI and physical activity motivation for women

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Julie Gast, PhD, MCHES, Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Amy Nielson, MS, National Children's Study, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Jason Leiker, PhD, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Background: Dieting practices can be harmful to women both psychologically and physically. However, a healthy weight in conjunction with regular physical activity has been linked to disease prevention. Intuitive eating has been shown to be successful in improving both physical and psychological health in samples of women who are chronic dieters and linked with maintaining regular physical activity. A hallmark of intuitive eaters is that they are internally motivated to eat compared to social and emotional eaters. Objectives: This study hypothesized that women who demonstrated internal motivation for eating may also be internally motivated to participate in physical activity. Additionally, the authors sought to determine if BMI and eating motivation were related. Methods: Survey data were collected with 200 university women using the Intuitive Eating Scale and the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire. Results: For the post hoc analysis, the sample was divided into tertiles by eating level using the Intuitive Eating Scale and general linear models revealed significant relationships between levels of intuitive eating classification and physical activity motivation as well as with self-reported BMI. Discussion: The women who ranked as high intuitive eaters were more likely to be internally motivated to engage in physical activity. These women were more likely to have lower BMI's as compared to low and medium intuitive eating style. The public health message of this research is that women may be more successful leading a healthy lifestyle with following internal cues to both eating and physical activity as compared to traditional approaches of dieting.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Define intuitive eating and its importance in eating disorder prevention and healthy weight for women Describe how motivation for physical activity is linked to eating style Identify the relationship between eating style and BMI

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead author on the paper and have published several peer reviewed papers on women's health, disordered eating, and intuitive eating
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.