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Symptoms of Addictive Eating: What Do Different Health Professions Think?

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Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
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School of Health Sciences, College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
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Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
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Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
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Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
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School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy, College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
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Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia
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Department of Psychology, Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZA, UK
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School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD 4122, Australia
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Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
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Department of Medicine (Austin), University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia
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Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Heidelberg Heights, VIC 3081, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Scott D. Lane
Behav. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11050060
Received: 1 April 2021 / Revised: 21 April 2021 / Accepted: 23 April 2021 / Published: 26 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Health Psychology)
The symptoms of addictive eating are often debated, with some overlap in symptoms with substance addictions or other disorders such as binge eating disorder. This study explored the levels of agreement with symptoms of addictive eating among different health professions, the conditions they provide advice for, and the population group/s they work with. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted in February–April 2020 including 142 health professionals (87% female, 65% residing in Australia, 28% each working in private practice/hospital settings). Of these, 47% were dietitians, 20% psychologists/psychotherapists/counsellors, 16% other health practitioners (e.g., social workers), 13% health researchers, and 5% medical professionals. Agreement with 11 statements relating to addictive eating symptoms was assessed on a scale of 1/strongly disagree to 5/strongly agree (e.g., certain foods produce physiological effects in the brain rewards system). Differences in agreement by health profession were assessed by one-way analysis of variance. There were significant differences in agreement with individual statements between health professions. Psychologists, psychotherapists, and counsellors reported lower agreement to statements relating to physiological effects in the reward system, withdrawal symptoms, and over-eating to alleviate stress/anxiety, than other professions (p < 0.05). Those providing advice for disordered eating only reported lower agreement across statements compared with those providing advice for overweight/obesity or both (p < 0.001). There were minimal differences based on the population group/s that health professionals work with. There is some agreement among health professionals regarding addictive eating symptoms, however, this differs by profession and the conditions they treat. This study provides a novel perspective on health professionals’ views on addictive eating symptoms, and there is a need for more research to explore the concepts further. View Full-Text
Keywords: addictive eating; food addiction; health professional; clinician addictive eating; food addiction; health professional; clinician
MDPI and ACS Style

Whatnall, M.; Skinner, J.; Verdejo-Garcia, A.; Carter, A.; Brown, R.M.; Andrews, Z.B.; Dayas, C.V.; Hardman, C.A.; Loxton, N.; Sumithran, P.; Burrows, T. Symptoms of Addictive Eating: What Do Different Health Professions Think? Behav. Sci. 2021, 11, 60. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11050060

AMA Style

Whatnall M, Skinner J, Verdejo-Garcia A, Carter A, Brown RM, Andrews ZB, Dayas CV, Hardman CA, Loxton N, Sumithran P, Burrows T. Symptoms of Addictive Eating: What Do Different Health Professions Think? Behavioral Sciences. 2021; 11(5):60. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11050060

Chicago/Turabian Style

Whatnall, Megan; Skinner, Janelle; Verdejo-Garcia, Antonio; Carter, Adrian; Brown, Robyn M.; Andrews, Zane B.; Dayas, Chris V.; Hardman, Charlotte A.; Loxton, Natalie; Sumithran, Priya; Burrows, Tracy. 2021. "Symptoms of Addictive Eating: What Do Different Health Professions Think?" Behav. Sci. 11, no. 5: 60. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11050060

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