Student investigates how women's moods affect food responses
Kim-Joy Hewlett recruited females aged 18 and above from the Leeds area to take part in the research, which involved participants filling out a questionnaire regarding attitudes to eating.
She explained: "There is a plenty of research into how negative mood such as stress can heighten attention towards food and increase consumption. However previous research shows that not everyone is equally susceptible to stress-induced eating; this is mediated by the type of food presented and individual differences in eating attitudes and biology. This study seeks to examine the complex relationship between these factors.
"Research on responses to food is of particular importance because it is associated with overeating, obesity and consequent health problems such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
The study involved participants answering a brief questionnaire and completing a colour naming task which affected their mood. There was also a reaction time task to assess responses to a variety of different images of food, household items and scenery. Physiological measurements of heart rate and galvanic skin responses were also taken using a recording system that involved placing electrodes on the fingers, wrists and ankles.
Kim-Joy continued: "This is a widespread issue, as obesity is now one of the top five global health problems, with 65% of the world's population living in countries where being overweight or obese is associated with more deaths than being underweight.
"With obesity and stress levels both on the rise, this has important implications for improving weight loss programs and understanding how to maintain a healthy diet."
The results of the study will be released in September.