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Findings on Food Addiction in Older US Adults Raise Caution Flag for Primary Care


According to new data from the National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA), approximately 13% of Americans aged 50 to 80 years meet criteria for addicition to highly processed foods, based on responses to the Yale Food Addiction Scale. The percentage was higher among women than men and among those who say they are overweight, lonely, or in fair or poor health physical or emotional health.

Food addiction researcher Ashley Gearhadt, PhD, author of the Yale Food Addiction Scale, and prrimary care physician Jeffrey Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH, director of the NPAH, share their thoughts in this interview with Patient Care®on the 3 most important clinical implications of this research for primary care clinicians to consider.

More from the Patient Care conversation with Drs Gearhardt and Kullgren:

When is a Nacho Like Cocaine? Author of the Yale Food Addiction Scale Explains

PCP Perspective: Should Primary Care Add Screening for Food Addiction to the To-Do List?

Highly Processed Food is Produced to Be as Rewarding as Humanly Possible, Says Food Addiction Expert

Subclinical Food Addiction Common Among Older Adults, Women Twice as Vulnerable as Men: Expert Interview

One in 4 Older US Adults Meets Criteria for Food Addiction: Experts Explain

Gearhardt's lab at the University of Michigan (U-M) teamed with the National Poll on Healthy Aging, based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and under the direction of Jeffery Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH, to look more closely at a population rarely included in research on food addiction. The National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA) surveys are fielded twice per year using a sample of approximately 2000 respondents aged 50 to 80 years drawn from a nationally representative probability-based panel of U.S. households. The NPHA is supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center, in Ann Arbor.

For more information:

Food and Addiction Science and Treatment Lab (Dr Gearhardt's lab)

The Yale Food Addiction Scale

The National Poll on Healthy Aging

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