Journal List > Korean J Nutr > v.42(6) > 1043782

Kim and Kim: Relationship between Stress and Eating Habits of Adults in Ulsan


This study was done to investigate the effect of stress on appetite and eating habits, and other health-related behaviors. The subjects of this study consisted of 188 males and 224 females in Ulsan area. The results were as follows: When stressed, 56% (n = 231) of the subjects experienced a change in appetite and of these, 32% (n = 132) experienced an increased appetite. Stress-induced eating may be one factor contributing to the development of obesity. There was a gender-specific response to stress in which women are more likely to use food to deal with stress, whereas men are more likely to use alcohol consumption or smoking. It was found that types of stressors were individual (52.9%), social (50.7%), family relations (34.5%), work demands (34.2%) and physical environment (32.3%). Stress-induced symptoms of the subjects were anxiety (38.3%), headache (36.7%) and neck or shoulder aches (36.2%), and females experienced those symptoms more than males. Those older than 50 years had a higher eating habit score and lower stress score compared with younger subjects. There were significant differences between sex, age, occupation, family type, BMI, exercise, sleeping hours and eating habits or stress level. This study may be helpful in advancing findings in this area to better provide health professionals with appropriate counseling tools to improve the health of all individuals.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
General characteristics of the subjects N (%)
Table 2
Distribution of BMI of the subjects N (%)

***: p < 0.001

Table 3
Health related behavior of the subjects N (%)

*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001

Table 4
Dietary behavior of the subjects N (%)

*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001

Table 5
Stress related variables of the subjects N (%)
Table 6
Relationship between subjective stress and stress score N (%)

*: p < 0.05

Table 7
Stress score by the categories of stress-related behavior

1) Mean ± SD. ***: p < 0.001

Table 8
Stress score and eating habit score of the subjects

1) Mean ± SD. ***: p < 0.001

Table 9
Change in health related variables by stress score N (%)

**: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001

Table 10
Factors affected on eating habit and stress score

1) Mean ± SD. *: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001


This study was supported by 2008 Research Fund of University of Ulsan.


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