Increased obesity rates, an evolving food supply and the overconsumption of energy dense foods has led to an increase in research exploring addictive eating behaviours. This study aimed to investigate food addiction in a sample of Australian adults using the revised Yale Food Addiction Survey (YFAS) 2.0 tool and how it is associated with dietary intake, personality traits and mental health issues. Australian adults were invited to complete an online survey that collected information including: demographics, dietary intake, depression, anxiety, stress and personality dimensions including impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity. A total of 1344 individuals were recruited with the samples comprising 75.7% female, mean age 39.8 ± 13.1 years (range 18–91 years) and body mass index BMI 27.7 ± 9.5. Food addiction was identified in 22.2% of participants using the YFAS 2.0 tool, which classified the severity of food addiction as “mild” in 0.7% of cases, “moderate” in 2.6% and “severe” in 18.9% of cases. Predictors of severe food addiction were female gender (odds ratio (OR) 3.65 95% CI 1.86–7.11) and higher levels of soft drink OR 1.36 (1.07–1.72), confectionary consumption and anxiety sensitivity 1.16 (1.07–1.26). Overall people with “severe” (OR 13.2, 5.8–29.8) or extremely severe depressive symptoms (OR 15.6, range 7.1–34.3) had the highest odds of having severe food addiction. The only variable that reduced the odds of having severe food addiction was vegetable intake. The current study highlights that addictive food behaviours are associated with a complex pattern of poor dietary choices and a clustering with mental health issues, particularly depression.
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