The Relationship Between Intuitive Eating and Diet Quality in a College Population

  • Marta Tabatabai California State University, Chico
  • Julie Holland California State University, Chico
  • Laura Curtis California State University, Chico
  • Michelle Neyman Morris California State University, Chico


Many college students have nutrient poor and energy dense diets and are also more likely to experience poor body image, which can result in unsafe dieting behaviors for the purpose of managing weight. Intuitive eating is an alternative approach to dieting that focuses on physiological hunger and fullness cues, while eating for both satisfaction and health without restriction of any foods. This study examined the association between intuitive eating and diet quality in a college population. College students, aged 18-56 years, completed an online survey which assessed intuitive eating using the Intuitive Eating Scale-2 (IES-2) and diet quality using the Starting The Conversation (STC) simplified food frequency instrument. IES-2 total score was positively correlated with higher overall diet quality and was negatively correlated with fast food and chip consumption. Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons and body-food choice congruence IES-2 subscales were positively correlated with diet quality while the unconditional permission to eat subscale was negatively correlated with diet quality. Strategies that focus on eating for health and well-being and minimize emotional eating are associated with higher overall diet quality and may be incorporated in dietary interventions among college students aimed at promoting healthy behaviors.

How to Cite
Tabatabai, M., Holland, J., Curtis, L., & Morris, M. N. (2021). The Relationship Between Intuitive Eating and Diet Quality in a College Population. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 19(1), 34-43.