Heightened reward associated with palatable food, a construct referred to as hedonic reward, can promote excessive energy intake among adults. However, no known studies have examined the influence of hedonic reward on adolescents' eating behavior and weight status. The present study examined whether there was an association between hedonic hunger and weight status in overweight/obese adolescents and whether dietary behavior (caloric consumption) mediated this association. Baseline measures of body mass index, hedonic food reward, and dietary intake were collected from one hundred overweight and obese adolescents. Data were analyzed using mixture modeling. Mediation at varying levels of hedonic hunger was explored and three heterogeneous sub-classes were identified. Results indicated that for 65% participants there was a positive association between hedonic hunger and zBMI such that one unit of increase in hedonic hunger was associated with a 0.35 unit increase in zBMI. However, no conclusive evidence of caloric intake mediating the association between hedonic hunger and weight-status was found. Overall, our results suggest that exaggerated hedonic responses are associated with higher body mass in adolescents. These results provide a compelling argument that hedonic hunger can potentially override the homeostatic need for energy and may be associated with weight-gain.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Kaur, Kirandeep, "Does Dietary Behavior Mediate the Association Between Hedonic Hunger and BMI in Overweight/Obese Adolescents?" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6934.
dietary behavior, hedonic hunger, body mass index, overweight adolescents