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The association of binge eating and neighbourhood fast-food restaurant availability on diet and weight status

  • Tracey Ledoux (a1), Heather Adamus-Leach (a1), Daniel P O'Connor (a1), Scherezade Mama (a1) and Rebecca E Lee (a2)...
Abstract Objective

Fast-food restaurants (FFR) are prevalent. Binge eating is common among overweight and obese women. For women prone to binge eating, neighbourhood FFR availability (i.e. the neighbourhood around one's home) may promote poor diet and overweight/obesity. The present study tested the effects of binge eating and neighbourhood FFR availability on diet (fat and total energy intake) and BMI among African American and Hispanic/Latino women.


All measures represent baseline data from the Health is Power randomized clinical trial. The numbers of FFR in participants’ neighbourhoods were counted and dichotomized (0 or ≥1 neighbourhood FFR). Participants completed measures of binge eating status and diet. Weight and height were measured and BMI calculated. 2 (binge eating status) × 2 (neighbourhood FFR availability) ANCOVA tested effects on diet and BMI while controlling for demographics.


Houston and Austin, TX, USA.


African American and Hispanic/Latino women aged 25–60 years.


Of the total sample (n 162), 48 % had 1–15 neighbourhood FFR and 29 % were binge eaters. There was an interaction effect on BMI (P = 0·05). Binge eaters with ≥1 neighbourhood FFR had higher BMI than non-binge eaters or binge eaters with no neighbourhood FFR. There were no significant interactions or neighbourhood FFR main effects on total energy or fat intake (P > 0·05). A main effect of binge eating showed that binge eaters consumed more total energy (P = 0·005) and fat (P = 0·005) than non-binge eaters.


Binge eaters represented a substantial proportion of this predominantly overweight and obese sample of African American and Hispanic/Latino women. The association between neighbourhood FFR availability and weight status is complicated by binge eating status, which is related to diet.

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