Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


College students--Health and hygiene--California--San Francisco; Appetite; College students--Health and hygiene; Weight loss; California--San Francisco; Academic theses;


In response to the world's increasing obesity rates, the use of traditional dieting and weight loss techniques is at an all time high. Although dieting rates have rapidly increased, the world's rising obesity rates show no sign of slowing and the effectiveness and effects of dieting have long been questioned. As an alternative to dieting and exercise, a non-dieting approach to weight regulation has emerged. Intuitive eating is one of its main tenants and is defined by allowing individuals to listen to internal body cues to determine hunger and fullness levels to meet nutritional and physical needs. However, few studies provide support for intuitive eating and more research is needed to determine its success.

This study measured the relationship between demographic and attitudinal factors and intuitive eating in college students. As measured by the Intuitive Eating Scale (IES), the Food Choice Questionnaire, and the Food Life Questionnaire, intuitive eaters had a significantly lower BMI (p =.045), were significantly more likely to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (p =.012), were more likely to choose food based on satisfying physical hunger (p =.021 ), and were more likely to consider oneself a healthy eater (p =.017) than non-intuitive eaters. Intuitive eaters were also less likely than non-intuitive eaters to be concerned with food's effect on physical appearance (p =.001), choose food based on emotional comfort (p =.008), price (p =.025), ability to help lose or maintain weight (p =.001), or because it attracts approval from others (p =.001).

These findings provide tentative support for intuitive eating as a positive approach to prevent obesity and risks associated with dieting. Further research is needed to explore the efficacy and implications of intuitive eating.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Susan R. Roberts-Dobie

Second Advisor

Diane E. Depken

Third Advisor

Oksana A. Matvienko


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Date Original


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