*Geek Box: Research Methods

*Geek Box: Measuring Intuitive Eating

It is important to note that intuitive eating [lowercase] may refer to a measure of psychometric evaluation, and also may refer to a specific intervention itself guided by the principles of Intuitive Eating [uppercase IE], as set out by Tribole and Resch.

The ten principles of IE include: i) reject the diet mentality; ii) honour your hunger; iii) make peace with food; iv) challenge the food police; v) respect your fullness; vi) discover the satisfaction factor; vii) honour your feelings without food; viii) respect your body; ix) exercise – feel the difference; x) honour your health. These 10 principles were initially clustered into three domains by Tylka, including: 1) unconditional permission to eat; 2) eating for physical rather than emotional cues; 3) reliance on hunger and satiety cues. These domains, and the principles contained therein, formed the basis of the first validated instrument to measure intuitive eating, the Intuitive Eating Scale [IES] (6).

Tylka et al. updated the domains of IE to include a 4th domain, that of body-food choice congruence. However, the original IES was validated in women only. Thus, in 2013 Tylka & Kroon Van Diest validated an updated version, the IES-2, which contains 23 items and included the body-food choice congruence domain, and was validated in both sexes (8). Factor analysis, which identifies factors that correlate within the same person, confirmed the 4-domain construct of the IES-2. Cronbach’s alpha, which is a measure of internal consistency for scale or test [over 0.70 is considered good consistency, >0.80 is stronger] for the IES-2 during validation was 0.89 and 0.87 for men and women, respectively. The IES-2 has also shown to be reproducible over time, albeit over a period of weeks [something to consider for prospective studies]. Thus, as an instrument used to assess intuitive eating in individuals, the IES-2 is a well-validated scale.