Emotional Eating among College Students in Israel: A Study during Times of War

Nourit Houminer Klepar, Nadav Davidovitch, Keren Dopelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotional eating, the act of consuming food to cope with negative emotions rather than responding to hunger cues, can lead to overeating in an attempt to regulate and alleviate these emotions. This study aimed to assess emotional eating among college students in Israel, specifically during times of war, which present unique and heightened stressors that accumulate on top. A total of 575 participants from the Ashkelon Academic College completed an online questionnaire examining background information, stress levels, and emotional eating symptoms. Our findings indicate that factors, such as being female, not having children, younger age, lower body satisfaction, higher BMI, and increased stress, are predictors of heightened emotional eating. These results highlight risk factors predisposing college students to engage in emotional eating. Developing targeted interventions, particularly campus-based programs to address emotional eating by promoting healthy coping strategies, a positive body image, and stress management skills is needed. In addition, raising awareness concerning emotional eating risks during challenging life transitions and distressing situations is necessary. The college leadership, led by the departments of Nutrition, Psychology, and Public Health, in collaboration with stakeholders in the Israeli Ministry of Health, must consider the mental effects of war on students and their involvement in emotional eating.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1347
JournalFoods
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

Keywords

  • Israel
  • college students
  • emotional eating
  • stress
  • times of war

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Food Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology

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