Real-time assessment of heart rate variability and loss of control eating in adolescent girls: A pilot study

Lisa M. Ranzenhofer*, Scott G. Engel, Ross D. Crosby, Mark Haigney, Micheline Anderson, Jeanne M. McCaffery, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective Studying physiologic underpinnings of loss-of-control (LOC) eating may inform its etiology and contribute to intervention efforts. We therefore examined temporal relationships between autonomic indices [heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV)] and LOC-eating in the natural environment. Method For two days, adolescents (n = 17, 14.77 ± 1.55 years, BMI-Z 2.17 ± 0.48) with LOC-eating reported on LOC using an electronic device while HR and HRV were assessed continuously using Holter monitoring. Results Higher HR and lower HRV in the 30-minutes before eating were significantly associated with LOC-eating overall (p's < 0.001) and at the within-participants level (p's < 0.001), but not at the between-participants level (p's > 0.44). Examined categorically, HR was significantly higher, and HRV significantly lower, prior to high-LOC compared to low-LOC episodes (p's < 0.001). Discussion This pilot study suggests that LOC-eating may involve physiologic underpinnings. Additional research with larger samples is needed to further investigate this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • LOC-eating
  • adolescence
  • heart rate
  • heart rate variability

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