Loss of control over eating is prevalent among overweight children and adolescents but what makes children binge eat is unknown. Recent studies have shown a relationship between negative emotions and binge eating and found that the experience of a loss of control over eating is significantly related to symptoms of anxiety and depression in children seeking treatment for obesity. A Belgian study of 188 overweight children included those who were seeking treatment (115) and those who were not (73). The study found that those seeking treatment for their obesity were twice as likely to lose control over their eating than those who were not seeking treatment. Increased anxiety was associated with emotional eating (eating too much but not in an uncontrolled fashion) and binge eating whereas increased depression was only associated with emotional eating. Very fat children were more at risk for loss of control over eating.
Goossens, Lien ... [et al] - Loss of control over eating in overweight youngsters: the role of anxiety, depression and emotional eating European Eating Disorders Revies January-February 2009, 17(1), 68-78