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Objective

The study objective was to identify how food neophilia—having an adventurous eating style for new/different foods—may relate to body mass index (BMI).

Methods

A nationwide online survey was conducted in 2012 with a group of 501 diverse young women (mean age = 26.8, mean BMI = 25.96). Items measured eating adventurousness, perceptions of novel foods, lifestyle and psychological characteristics, and BMI (dependent variable).

Results

Linear regressions were run to examine associations between eating adventurousness and weight-related outcomes. To examine mean differences between adventurous and non-adventurous eaters, a one-way ANOVA was run for variables on perceptions of novel foods, lifestyle, and psychology (significance level = P < 0.05). Food neophiles had lower BMIs (P < 0.01) and were more likely to cook to connect with their heritage, host friends for dinner, be physically active, and be concerned about the healthfulness of food, when compared to non-adventurous eaters (all P values < 0.05).

Conclusions

Promoting adventurous eating in adults could help individuals lose/maintain weight without feeling as restricted. Given the lack of research on food neophiles, future studies should examine their characteristics and behaviors, as well as how food neophiles may intersect with others interested in food (e.g., foodies).