Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emotional eating in children

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

3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I am such an emotional eater, but otherwise have a very healthy diet... aside from my sweet tooth.

I want to lose about a stone (6 kgs) by the end of the year. I weigh about 8st11 and want to get down to 7st11. I will not be underweight as I'm only 5' 2. My downfall is eating when I'm not hungry if I'm going through a tough time, I have always been like this, maybe even as a child. I have never had an eating disorder though.

Any advice from reformed emotional eaters?
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John Gale (Mental Health Update) said...

Constable & Robinson produce a very good series of self-help books called Overcoming ... and one of them is Overcoming Bulimian Nervosa and Binge Eating. But 5'2 and 8st11 is a perfectly respectable weight so maybe you might be better to work on your body image rather than trying to lose weight by restricting; something that can often be a trigger for more binges.