Presentation Title

Emotional Eating During COVID-19

Presenter's Name(s)

Shenna Tyer, UVMFollow

Project Collaborators

Dr. Farryl Bertmann (Graduate Student Mentor), Mallory James (Fellow Graduate Student)

Abstract

COVID-19’s impact in the US and associated virus mitigation efforts led to a sudden economic downturn. COVID-associated business closures led to increased unemployment, with more than 14 million individuals becoming unemployed between February and March 2020. Our study examined the interplay between job disruption, food access worries, and their relationship to emotional eating during the first six months of COVID-19. We surveyed 1,510 US adults during July/August 2020 with an oversampling of lower-income households using the Qualtrics online panel. Our results suggest that people who experienced any job disruption (n=270) had lower emotional eating scores (2.97) compared to those that remained job stable (3.16) (p=0.02). Respondents experiencing food access worries (there won’t be enough food in the store, food will become more expensive, and my household won’t be able to afford enough food) (n=187) had lower emotional eating scores (2.84) compared to those not worried (3.19) (p=0.001). Our findings showed people who had experienced job disruption and experienced food access worries had a lower emotional eating score, suggesting they were more likely to eat due to stress, anxiety, and boredom. The pandemic may not only disrupt employment; our study suggests any form of job disruption and food access worries are associated with eating behavior and relationship with food.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Farryl Bertmann

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Accelerated RN-BS-MS

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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Emotional Eating During COVID-19

COVID-19’s impact in the US and associated virus mitigation efforts led to a sudden economic downturn. COVID-associated business closures led to increased unemployment, with more than 14 million individuals becoming unemployed between February and March 2020. Our study examined the interplay between job disruption, food access worries, and their relationship to emotional eating during the first six months of COVID-19. We surveyed 1,510 US adults during July/August 2020 with an oversampling of lower-income households using the Qualtrics online panel. Our results suggest that people who experienced any job disruption (n=270) had lower emotional eating scores (2.97) compared to those that remained job stable (3.16) (p=0.02). Respondents experiencing food access worries (there won’t be enough food in the store, food will become more expensive, and my household won’t be able to afford enough food) (n=187) had lower emotional eating scores (2.84) compared to those not worried (3.19) (p=0.001). Our findings showed people who had experienced job disruption and experienced food access worries had a lower emotional eating score, suggesting they were more likely to eat due to stress, anxiety, and boredom. The pandemic may not only disrupt employment; our study suggests any form of job disruption and food access worries are associated with eating behavior and relationship with food.