UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Emotional Eating Mediates the Relationship Between Food Insecurity and Obesity in Latina Women

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Food Security | Health Psychology | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Nutritional Epidemiology | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Psychiatry and Psychology | Race and Ethnicity


OBJECTIVE: To examine the mediating role of emotional eating (EE) in the association between food insecurity (FI) and obesity in Latina women.

DESIGN: A secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study.

PARTICIPANTS: Women (n=297) were recruited from a community health center in Lawrence, MA.

VARIABLES MEASURED: The 6-item US Department of Agriculture Household Food Security Scale was used to measure FI. The Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire Revised 18-item, version 2 was used to measure EE. Measured height and weight were used to calculate body mass index. Covariates included: age, education, marital status, number of children in the house, physical activity, and country of birth.

ANALYSIS: Multivariable logistic and linear regressions. Mediation was tested and the mediated proportion was calculated.

RESULTS: Overall, 36.7% of women experienced FI. In adjusted regression models, FI was positively associated with obesity (odds ratio [OR]=1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-2.97; P=0.02) and EE (beta=0.22; 95% CI, 0.001-0.44; P=0.05), and EE was positively associated with obesity (OR=1.82; 95% CI, 1.37-2.42; P < 0.01). When EE was included in the main effects model, FI was not significantly associated with obesity (OR=1.64; 95% CI, 0.97-2.76; P=0.06) and EE explained 21% of the association.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the findings. If the findings are confirmed, future studies can explore interventions to ameliorate EE among Latina women experiencing FI, and providers can screen for EE in Latinas experiencing FI.


Latina women, emotional eating, food insecurity, obesity

DOI of Published Version



López-Cepero A, Frisard C, Lemon SC, Rosal MC. Emotional Eating Mediates the Relationship Between Food Insecurity and Obesity in Latina Women. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 Nov;52(11):995-1000. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2020.08.007. PMID: 33168208; PMCID: PMC7656045. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of nutrition education and behavior

PubMed ID