Diary of a Fat Person - Howit Could Help Us Understand Why We Love to Snack; Appeal for Overweight Volunteers to Help with Psychology Research

Article excerpt

Byline: Robin Turner

A WELSH university is seeking 30 overweight volunteers to help discover what triggers snacking.

Swansea University's Department of Psychology wants podgy pioneers to keep daily diaries of what and when they eat... and what makes them do it.

The study will be conducted over a 12-month period and is expected to give researchers an insight into the types of eating behaviours most likely to lead to snacking, overeating and weight gain.

The department is looking for people with a body mass index of more than 25 (overweight) to record their reasons for eating as well as logging other details such as their mood and hunger levels.

The World Health Organisation today classes a billion people worldwide as overweight, and 300 million as clinically obese.

A5ft 6inswoman would have to weigh 13st 4lbs to be classed as obese, while a 6ftman would have to weigh 15st 11lbs.

Research by Professor Rhys Williams at Swansea University suggests 8% of girls and 5% of boys in the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot area are obese by the time they are five.

It is estimated about a quarter of Welsh adults are obese.

Louise Cleobury, who is conducting the study, said: "Research suggests there are a number of psychological as well as physiological factors associated with snacking and overeating.

"Apart from typical reasons such as hunger or habit, this particular research seeks to identify those psychological reasons which can lead to overindulgence."

The researcher said there were a number of factors thought to be behind snacking and the study would suggest which were key.

"Boredom is thought to be one of the key triggers for snacking," she said.

"So we hope our study will tell us what people have been up to, or not, when they start snacking.

"Feeling low or depressed is another reason why people turn to the fridge or store cupboard so we also want our diarists to tell us how they are feeling at times when they open a packet of crisps or head for the biscuits. …