gms | German Medical Science

3. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V. (DGESS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V.

23.02. - 25.02.2012, Hannover

Food addiction in obese candidates for bariatric surgery

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Adrian Meule - Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
  • Daniela Heckel - Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
  • Andrea Kübler - Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e.V. (DGESS). 3. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen. Hannover, 23.-25.02.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. Doc12dgess084

doi: 10.3205/12dgess084, urn:nbn:de:0183-12dgess0845

Veröffentlicht: 8. Februar 2012

© 2012 Meule et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Background: Recent evidence suggests that ‘hyperpalatable’ foods can have an addictive potential. Accordingly, excessive food consumption like in binge eating disorder or obesity could similarly be fostered by addictive components. In humans, such addictive eating patterns can be measured with the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) [1]. With this study we aimed at investigating whether subjects with obesity could be classified as food addicted and which factors would differentiate between food addicted and non-addicted individuals.

Material/Methods: We administered the German version of the YFAS and other questionnaires to obese individuals seeking bariatric surgery (N=96). With the YFAS participants were classified as food addicted or non-addicted. Subsequently, we compared groups with regards to gender distribution, age, body-mass-index (BMI) and questionnaire scores.

Results: Preliminary data analyses showed that 41.7% of the sample (n=40) could be diagnosed as food addicted. Food addicted individuals reported more frequent food cravings, higher shape-, eating- and weight concern, more days with binge eating, and were more depressed than the non-addicted group. Age, BMI, gender distribution, eating restraint, and alcohol consumption/-problems were not different between the groups. The food addiction group reported higher attentional, but similar motor and non-planning impulsivity compared to the non-addicted group.

Discussion: The prevalence of food addiction is increased in candidates for bariatric surgery compared to the general population and obese individuals not seeking bariatric surgery [2]. A diagnosis of food addiction is associated with higher eating-related psychopathology and depression. Moreover, only attentional impulsivity, but not other dimensions of impulsivity, are associated with addictive eating.


Gearhardt AN, Corbin WR, Brownell KD. Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Appetite. 2009;52(2):430-6.
Meule A. How prevalent is "food addiction"? Front Psychiatry. 2011;2(61):1-4.