Knowledge about nutrition, eating habits and weight reduction intervention among methadone maintenance treatment patients

Anat Sason, Miriam Adelson, Sarit Herzman-Harari, Einat Peles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) patients are often under-nourished and overweight. The impact of a nutrition intervention program to improve knowledge about healthy food habits and losing weight was studied. Patients were screened for knowledge about nutrition and body mass index (BMI). Those with a low knowledge score or a BMI ≥ 26 (n = 89) were randomly divided into either intervention (two lectures on healthy nutrition followed by weight monitoring over 6 weeks), or controls (weighed at baseline, post-lectures and at study closure). The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), eating behavior rating, and nutrition knowledge questionnaires were used. Knowledge and food habit scores improved in the intervention group (28.4 ± 4.3, 37.2 ± 3.1, 32.5 ± 3.9 pre-, post- and 6-weeks post-lectures, respectively), with no change in the controls (28.6 ± 3.4, 28.2 ± 4.9, 28.1 ± 5.3, repeated measured p(time) = 0.001, p(group) = 0.001, p(interaction) = 0.001); food habit (intervention: 35.0 ± 7.0, 38.4 ± 5.2, 37.5 ± 5.3, controls: 34.0 ± 6.9, 34.7 ± 6.9, 34.6 ± 7.4, p(time) = 0.001, p(group) = 0.04, p(interaction) = 0.06). BMI scores however did not change and were similar in both groups (p = 0.9). Of all patients, 10.1% met the criteria of food addiction according to the YFAS, 40.4% lost weight and 28% gained weight, with no group differences. There were more symptoms of food addiction among the patients who gained weight vs. those who lost weight (3.7 ± 2.0 vs. 2.6 ± 1.8, respectively, p = 0.04). We concluded that although weight loss was not observed, intervention is recommended for improving knowledge about nutrition and for fostering healthy eating habits with the aim of reducing diet-related morbidity among all MMT patients. Longitudinal program combined with physical activity is needed to study if may lead to weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Mar 2018


FundersFunder number
Adelson Family Foundation


    • BMI
    • Eating habits
    • Food addiction
    • Methadone maintenance treatment
    • Nutrition knowledge
    • Weight loss


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