, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 778-784
Date: 08 Jun 2007

Emotional Eating in a Morbidly Obese Bariatric Surgery-Seeking Population

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The impact of presurgical eating patterns on postoperative outcomes is poorly understood. The results of previous studies are mixed regarding the impact of presurgical binge eating on weight loss after surgery. However, many patients describe other maladaptive eating patterns prior to surgery, such as eating in response to emotions.The goals of this study were to describe presurgical emotional eating patterns in morbidly obese individuals, determine whether these individuals were binge eaters, and assess the effect of this eating behavior on weight loss after surgery.


Prior to surgery, 144 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) patients completed the Questionnaire of Eating and Weight Patterns (QEWP) or QEWPRevised (QEWP-R) and the Emotional Eating Scale to assess eating patterns prior to surgery. Their eating behavior, levels of depression, and weight were assessed after surgery.


High emotional eaters tended to have higher levels of depression, binge eating, and eating in response to external cues than low emotional eaters prior to surgery.However, there appeared to be a distinct group of individuals who were high emotional eaters but who did not engage in binge eating. At a mean of 8 months after surgery, High Emotional Eaters and Low Emotional Eaters were indistinguishable on these subscales and there were no differences in weight lost.


RYGBP has an equally positive impact on eating behavior and weight loss for both High Emotional Eaters and Low Emotional Eaters. Further replication is needed with longer follow-up times and larger samples.