Impact of food craving and calorie intake on body mass index (BMI) changes during an 18-month behavioral weight loss trial
The purpose of this study was to explore relations between food craving, caloric intake, and body mass index (BMI) changes over the course of an 18-month weight loss trial. Two-hundred two obese adults (mean BMI = 34.9 kg/m2; mean age = 51.30 years, 92.2% White; 57.8% female) who participated in a behavioral weight loss trial completed measures of food craving, caloric intake, and BMI at baseline, 6 and 18 months. From baseline to 6 months, higher initial food cravings were associated with more gradual and less steep reductions in BMI. Additionally, the relation between changes in food craving and BMI changes varied by levels of change in caloric intake, such that BMI change and change in food cravings were positively associated at low levels of change in caloric intake, but were unrelated at average and high levels of change in caloric intake. Similarly, from baseline to 6 months and from 6 to 18 months, the relation between changes in food craving and BMI changes also varied by initial levels of caloric intake. Explicit clinical targeting of food craving management may be beneficial for individuals beginning weight loss programs, especially for those who report higher levels of food craving at baseline. Baseline caloric intake and change in calorie intake over time may serve as moderators of the relation between food cravings and BMI.