Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Muth, Eric R

Committee Member

Alley , Thomas

Committee Member

Hoover , Adam

Abstract

Overweight and obesity are primary health concerns worldwide and particularly in the United States. Currently, the most effective treatments are behavioral interventions, and a reduction of eating rate is one behavioral method that may help individuals eat less and lose weight. Additionally, adaptive eating behaviors, such as intuitive eating, have been identified as healthy body weight predictors. The purpose of Study 1 was to examine the accuracy of the bite detector, a wrist-worn device designed to detect bites of food. Participants (N = 21) ate a meal in the laboratory, and the sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) of the bite detector were calculated. Sensitivity was above 80% for all 21 participants, but the PPV was below 80% for 10 out of 21 participants. The purpose of Study 2 was to explore the relationship between eating rate, the amount of food consumed, and intuitive eating. Participants (N = 30) ate a meal in the laboratory at 4 different times under different conditions: (a) orientation without bite-rate feedback, (b) baseline without bite-rate feedback, (c) bite-rate feedback only, and (d) bite-rate feedback with instructions to eat at a slower target bite-rate. Participants successfully followed the target eating rate and as a result ate slower in this condition. A significant difference in the total grams of food consumed between the 4 conditions was found, F(3,87) = 2.75, p < 0.05, eta2 = 0.09. The slowed eating condition (M = 113.59g, SE = 10.25g) resulted in significantly less grams of food consumed than the bite-rate feedback only condition (M = 135.94g, SE = 11.67g; t(29) = -3.54, p = 0.001). However, scores on the intuitive eating scale did not moderate the relationship between condition and grams of food consumed, F(3,84) = 0.27, p = 0.84, eta2 = 0.01. Using the bite detector to reduce eating rate and monitor the amount of food consumed is discussed.

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