Experimentally Manipulated Low Social Status and Food Insecurity Alter Eating Behavior Among Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Michelle I Cardel 1Greg Pavela 2David Janicke 3Tianyao Huo 1Darci Miller 1Alexandra M Lee 1Matthew J Gurka 1Emily Dhurandhar 4John C Peters 5Ann E Caldwell 5Eric Krause 6Alicia Fernandez 7David B Allison 8

Objective: This randomized trial experimentally manipulated social status to assess effects on acute eating behavior and 24-hour energy balance.

Methods: Participants (n = 133 Hispanics; age 15-21 years; 60.2% females) were randomized to low social status (“LOW”) or high social status (“HIGH”) conditions in a rigged game of Monopoly (Hasbro, Inc.). Acute energy intake in a lunchtime meal was measured by food scales. Twenty-four-hour energy balance was assessed via summation of resting metabolic rate (metabolic cart), physical activity energy expenditure (accelerometer), thermic effect of food, and subtraction of twenty-four-hour energy intake (food diary).

Results: In the total sample, no significant differences were observed by study conditions at lunchtime. LOW females consumed a greater percent of lunchtime daily energy needs (37.5%) relative to HIGH females (34.3%); however, this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.291). In males, however, LOW consumed significantly less (36.5%) of their daily energy needs relative to HIGH males (45.8%; P = 0.001). For 24-hour energy balance, sex differences were nearly significant (P = 0.057; LOW females: surplus +200 kcal; HIGH males: surplus +445 kcal). Food-insecure individuals consumed a nearly significantly greater lunchtime percent daily energy than those with food security (40.7% vs. 36.3%; P = 0.0797).

Conclusions: The data demonstrate differential acute and 24-hour eating behavior responses between Hispanic male and female adolescents in experimentally manipulated conditions of low social status.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33150744/