Public Health Nutrition

Research Papers

The association of binge eating and neighbourhood fast-food restaurant availability on diet and weight status

Tracey Ledouxa1 c1, Heather Adamus-Leacha1, Daniel P O'Connora1, Scherezade Mamaa1 and Rebecca E Leea2

a1 Texas Obesity Research Center, University of Houston, 104 Garrison Gym, 3855 Holman Street, Houston, TX 77204-6015, USA

a2 College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA


Objective Fast-food restaurants (FFR) are prevalent. Binge eating is common among overweight and obese women. For women prone to binge eating, neighbourhood FFR availability (i.e. the neighbourhood around one's home) may promote poor diet and overweight/obesity. The present study tested the effects of binge eating and neighbourhood FFR availability on diet (fat and total energy intake) and BMI among African American and Hispanic/Latino women.

Design All measures represent baseline data from the Health is Power randomized clinical trial. The numbers of FFR in participants’ neighbourhoods were counted and dichotomized (0 or ≥1 neighbourhood FFR). Participants completed measures of binge eating status and diet. Weight and height were measured and BMI calculated. 2 (binge eating status) × 2 (neighbourhood FFR availability) ANCOVA tested effects on diet and BMI while controlling for demographics.

Setting Houston and Austin, TX, USA.

Subjects African American and Hispanic/Latino women aged 25–60 years.

Results Of the total sample (n 162), 48 % had 1–15 neighbourhood FFR and 29 % were binge eaters. There was an interaction effect on BMI (P = 0·05). Binge eaters with ≥1 neighbourhood FFR had higher BMI than non-binge eaters or binge eaters with no neighbourhood FFR. There were no significant interactions or neighbourhood FFR main effects on total energy or fat intake (P > 0·05). A main effect of binge eating showed that binge eaters consumed more total energy (P = 0·005) and fat (P = 0·005) than non-binge eaters.

Conclusions Binge eaters represented a substantial proportion of this predominantly overweight and obese sample of African American and Hispanic/Latino women. The association between neighbourhood FFR availability and weight status is complicated by binge eating status, which is related to diet.

(Received November 19 2012)

(Revised September 09 2013)

(Accepted December 10 2013)

(Online publication January 24 2014)


  • Binge eating;
  • Environment;
  • Obesity;
  • Diet


c1 Corresponding author: Email