Females tend to eat out when stressed, says study

31 Jul 2022
Ambient light in restaurants influences food choices

Women who are stressed have a habit of eating away from home, but the effects tend to be very minimal, according to a China study.

To examine the relationship between perceived stress and multifarious eating away from home, data were obtained from the China Health and Nutrition Survey conducted in 2018 among Chinese adults aged 18‒59 years.

The authors used a self-reported questionnaire involving the perceived stress scale with 10 items (PSS-10) and a food frequency questionnaire about eating away from home. Finally, the association was assessed using adjusted two-level zero-inflated Poisson regression models.

A total of 3,161 males and 3,599 females were enrolled in the study. The median PSS-10 score was 16.0, while the frequencies of having breakfast, lunch or supper, and three main meals away from home were 12, 10, and 49 times per year, respectively.

The PSS-10 score in males did not correlate with eating away from home, but that in females significantly correlated with eating lunch or supper (β=0.016; p=0.006), three main meals (β=0.014; p=0.002), and Chinese food away from home (β=0.015; p=0.013), and with eating at stalls or restaurants (β=0.014; p=0.015)

However, no association was observed between the PSS-10 score and the frequency of having breakfast away from home in females (β=0.006; p=0.325).

“Stressed females tend to eat away from home, but the effects are very small,” the authors said.

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