Washington: Ladies, please note – your eating speed is linked to your body weight, say researchers.
A new study by the University of Otago has found that middle-aged women who eat slowly are much less likely to be overweight or obese than those who eat at a faster pace, the 'Journal of the American Dietetic Association' reported.

The researchers have analysed the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and body mass index (BMI) in more than 1,500 New Zealand women aged between 40 and 50 to come to the conclusion.

Lead researcher Dr Caroline Horwath said that after adjusting for other factors including age, ethnicity, smoking, and menopause status, the study found that the faster women reported their eating speed to be, the higher their BMI.

"For every one-step increase in a five-step scale ranging from 'very slow' eating to 'very fast', the women's BMI increased by 2.8 per cent, which is equivalent to a 1.95 kg weight increase in a woman of average BMI for this group,"
she said.

In the study, the researchers have been following up the women to see if faster eaters gain more weight over time.

"The size of the association found in this initial research suggests that if there is a causal link, reduction in eating speed is a very promising way to prevent weight gain and may lead to decreases in BMI similar or greater than those sustained in weight management programmes," she said.

If analysis of the data confirms a causal relationship, Dr Horwath and her team will test interventions that include a focus on encouraging women to eat more slowly.

"If such interventions prove effective, they could be used alongside other non-dieting approaches we have previously trialed with overweight or obese women. These approaches successfully prevented weight gain in at risk women and even produced significant weight loss in some," she said.