Delay discounting and intake of ready-to-eat and away-from-home foods in overweight and obese women

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Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

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Health Behavior; Obesity; Eating; Feeding Behavior; Impulsive Behavior; Fast Foods


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Preventive Medicine


A shift from home-prepared to away-from-home and ready-to-eat foods has occurred in recent decades, which has implications for obesity and health. This study tested whether delay discounting, a facet of impulsivity reflecting sensitivity to immediate reward, is associated with the frequency of consumption and typical amount consumed of home-prepared, away-from-home, and ready-to-eat foods among overweight and obese women. Seventy-eight participants completed a binary choice task assessing discounting of delayed monetary rewards. Nutrient analysis of weighed food records characterized dietary intake over seven consecutive days. Foods were categorized as home-prepared, away-from-home, or ready-to-eat by a registered dietitian from information provided by participants. Delay discounting was not associated with the frequency of consuming home-prepared, away-from-home, and ready-to-eat foods as reflected in the percentages of recorded foods or total energy intake from each category. However, once consuming away-from-home and ready-to-eat foods (but not home-prepared foods), impulsive women consumed more energy than less impulsive women. Exploratory analyses indicated that more impulsive women chose away-from-home foods with a higher energy density (kcal/g). Impulsivity was associated with the quantity of away-from-home and ready-to-eat foods consumed, but not the frequency of their consumption. Home food preparation may be critical to weight control for impulsive individuals.

DOI of Published Version



Appetite. 2012 Oct;59(2):576-84. Epub 2012 Jul 20. Link to article on publisher's site

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