The Prevalence and Determinants of Food Addiction Among Family Medicine Residents in Jeddah’s Joint Program 2019


  • Sara A. Al-Juhani
  • Ghassan Murshid
  • Noha Dashash
  • Ola Abdulrasheed
  • Adel Ibrahim

Abstract views: 214
PDF downloads: 137


food, addiction, Saudi, family, medicine


Purpose: Food addiction is defined as “a specific adaptation to one or more regularly consumed foods to which a person is highly sensitive, [which] produces a common pattern of symptoms descriptively similar to those of other addictive processes” (Randolph, 1956). This study sought to measure the prevalence of food addiction and to assess its risk factors among family medicine residents of the joint program in Jeddah 2019.

Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study using the modified Yale Food Addiction Scale, Version 2;149 out of 180 candidates were approved to participate.

Findings: Most physicians were females (63%), non-smokers (66%), without chronic diseases (95%), single (55%), and living with their families (93%); participants had a mean age of 28 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 25. Only 11.4% of the physicians adhered to the diagnostic criteria of food addiction, with 41% experiencing mild food addiction, 24% moderate, and 35% severe. The symptom count had a mean of 1.46, and the most endorsed symptom scored was “persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit.” There was no statistically significant clinical relationship to be found between food addiction and the different determinants, such as gender, age, relationship status, chronic disease, smoking, and BMI in this non-clinical sample.

Unique contribution to theory, practice and policy: Our study shows that the prevalence of food addiction among Saudi family physicians in training is similar to other studies targeting non-clinical samples around the world. Up to our knowledge, this is one of the first studies in Saudi Arabia, exploring the prevalence of food addiction. We hope that this study highlights the issue as Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of obesity around the world


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Sara A. Al-Juhani

Family Physician: Joint program of Family Medicine

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Ghassan Murshid


Family Physician: National Transformation Office, Directorate of Health Affairs

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Noha Dashash

Consultant: Family Medicine

Assistant Director of Health Affairs for Planning and Transformation

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Ola Abdulrasheed

 Consultant: Community Medicine

Manager of Research and Studies Administration: Directorate of Health Affairs

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Adel Ibrahim

Consultant: Community Medicine

Directorate of Health Affairs

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Ahmad, M. (2018). Examining the connection between food addiction and human obesity Amman: Nature and science. Retrieved from


Al Ahdal, A. (2015). Prevalence and factors associated with tobacco smoking among adults attending primary health care centers at Ministry of Health Sectors, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Medical Research Professionals. doi:10.21276/


Al-Ghamdi, S., Felemban, A., & Bakarman, M. (2019). The prevalence and determinants of obesity among physicians in primary health care centers in Jeddah. EC Endocrinology and Metabolic Research, 4(5), 215–223.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Carter, A., Hendrikse, J., Lee, N., Yücel, M., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Andrews, Z., & Hall, W. (2016). The neurobiology of “food addiction” and its implications for obesity treatment and policy. Annual Review of Nutrition, 36(1), 105–128. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071715-050909

Davis, C., & Carter, J. (2009). Compulsive overeating as an addiction disorder. A review of theory and evidence. Appetite, 53(1), 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.05.018

DeNicola, E., Aburizaiza, O., Siddique, A., Khwaja, H., & Carpenter, D. (2015). Obesity and public health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Reviews on Environmental Health, 30(3).

Fatani, A., Johani, N., & Ibrahim, A. (2019). Basic life support knowledge of family medicine residents at joint program of family medicine in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, 2017. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 6(6), 2372.

Fawzi, M., & Fawzi, M. (2018). Validation of an Arabic version of the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 24(8), 745–752.

Gearhardt, A. (2011). Neural correlates of food addiction. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(8), 808. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.32

Gearhardt, A., Corbin, W., & Brownell, K. (2016). Development of the Yale Food Addiction Scale Version 2.0. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(1), 113–121. doi:10.1037/adb0000136

Gearhardt, A., White, M., Masheb, R., Morgan, P., Crosby, R., & Grilo, C. (2011). An examination of the food addiction construct in obese patients with binge eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45(5), 657–663. doi:10.1002/eat.20957

Gordon, E., Ariel-Donges, A., Bauman, V., & Merlo, L. (2018). What is the evidence for “food addiction?” A systematic review. Nutrients, 10(4), 477–478.

Konkolÿ Thege, B., Woodin, E., Hodgins, D., & Williams, R. (2015). Natural course of behavioral addictions: A 5-year longitudinal study. BMC Psychiatry, 15(1). doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0383-3

Masheb, R., Ruser, C., Min, K., Bullock, A., & Dorflinger, L. (2018). Does food addiction contribute to excess weight among clinic patients seeking weight reduction? Examination of the Modified Yale Food Addiction Survey. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 84, 1–6.

Mayo Clinic. (2018). Binge-eating disorder—Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from

Meule, A., & Gearhardt, A. (2014). Five years of the Yale Food Addiction Scale: Taking stock and moving forward. Current Addiction Reports, 1(3), 193–205. doi:10.1007/s40429-014-0021-z

Murphy, C., Stojek, M., & MacKillop, J. (2014). Interrelationships among impulsive personality traits, food addiction, and body mass index. Appetite, 73, 45–50. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.10.008

Novelle, M. (2018). Food addiction and binge eating: Lessons learned from animal models. Nutrients, 10(1), 71. Retrieved from


Nunes-Neto, P., Köhler, C., Schuch, F., Solmi, M., Quevedo, J., & Maes, M., . . . Carvalho, A. F. (2018). Food addiction: Prevalence, psychopathological correlates and associations with quality of life in a large sample. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 96, 145–152. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.10.003

Pedram, P., Wadden, D., Amini, P., Gulliver, W., Randell, E., & Cahill, F., . . . Sun, G. (2013). Food addiction: Its prevalence and significant association with obesity in the general population. Plos One, 8(9), e74832. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074832

Potenza, M. (2014). Non-substance addictive behaviors in the context of DSM-5. Addictive Behaviors, 39(1), 1–2. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.09.004

Pursey, K., Stanwell, P., Gearhardt, A., Collins, C., & Burrows, T. (2014). The prevalence of food addiction as assessed by the Yale Food Addiction Scale: A systematic review. Nutrients, 6(10), 4552–4590.

Randolph T. G. (1956). The descriptive features of food addiction—Addictive eating and drinking. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 17, 198–224.

Schulte, E., & Gearhardt, A. (2017). Associations of food addiction in a sample recruited to be nationally representative of the United States. European Eating Disorders Review, 26(2), 112–119.

Schulte, E., Avena, N., & Gearhardt, A. (2015). Which foods may be addictive? The roles of processing, fat content, and glycemic load. PLos One, 10(2), e0117959. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117959

Tarman, V. (2014). Food junkies: Recovery from food addiction. Toronto: Dundurn Press.

Zou, Z. (2017). Substance and non-substance addiction. New York, NY: Springer




How to Cite

Al-Juhani, S. A., Murshid, G., Dashash, N., Abdulrasheed, O., & Ibrahim, A. (2020). The Prevalence and Determinants of Food Addiction Among Family Medicine Residents in Jeddah’s Joint Program 2019. American Journal of Psychology, 2(1), 1 - 16.




Most read articles by the same author(s)