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Phenotyping in clinical nutrition

Food addiction assessment in a nonclinical sample of the Italian population




Discussion about the potential addictive role of certain types of food and their link with obesity has recently increased. Researchers have developed instruments to specifically assess food addiction (FA). The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the prevalence of food addiction in a nonclinical sample of the Italian population.


All participants (n = 148: 46 males, 102 females) completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0 (YFAS 2.0) and provided self-reported measures and demographic information. They were divided into three age groups.


The prevalence of FA was 15.5% of our sample (82.6% of the subjects diagnosed with FA were female). The FA symptoms mean was 1.90 (SD = 2.87). In both sexes, participants aged 18–30 had the highest diagnosis of FA, with 52.1% of all FA subjects being females aged 18–30. According to the Body Mass Index (BMI), all the males diagnosed with FA were overweight or obese, as were most (63.2%) of the FA females.


Future food education policies could consider FA assessment together with that of other eating disorders, even among nonclinical subjects in order to anticipate diagnosis and improve treatment.

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We thank the University of Siena and “PATTO in cucina Magazine” for the support and Dr. Peter Christie for the English revision.

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AMA and ER contributed equally to this paper.

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Correspondence to Anna Maria Aloisi.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki. Ethical review and approval were waived for this study, since the anonymous nature of the web survey does not allow the tracing of sensitive personal data. Participants were fully informed about the study requirements and had to agree to the data sharing and privacy policy before participating in the study. The study was not a clinical trial on drugs, supplements or foods, but a survey of the population’s habits. All the participants gave their consent to the data treatment at the beginning of the web survey. If any participant did not give his/her consent, the web survey automatically stopped.

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Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

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Rostanzo, E., Aloisi, A.M. Food addiction assessment in a nonclinical sample of the Italian population. Eur J Clin Nutr 76, 477–481 (2022).

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