Binge-eating and depression go together in teens

maybe a teen

Depressed adolescent girls are twice as likely to begin binge-eating as girls who are not depressed according to a new study. Furthermore, girls who regularly binge-eat are twice as likely to develop symptoms of depression. The research indicates that adolescent girls who show signs of either disorder should be screened for both.

“Binge eating prevention initiatives should consider the role of depressive symptoms, and incorporate suggestions for dealing with negative emotions,” according to the report published in Journal of Adolescent Health.

Alison Field, ScD, Senior author and an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health says the findings reveal new opportunities for intervention and may provide another tool in the arsenal against the nation’s obesity epidemic.

What is the nature of binge eating?

With the majority of eating disorders starting in adolescence, the study hoped to gain insight into the nature of these symptoms. Binge eating is defined as feeling out of control and unable to stop eating once started. They looked at data from almost 5,000 girls aged between 12 and 18 who filled out surveys in 1999 and participated in follow up surveys I 2001 and 2003. They study focused on girls since they are more likely than boys to have the eating disorder.

“The most common approach to obesity has been to focus on eating better and exercising more, but many pathways can lead to being overweight. There is a group of people where it may be more psychologically driven. Targeting some of these psychological factors might help prevent obesity. Binge eaters or overeaters can be very secretive, so parents may be unaware that there’s a problem. That’s a really important message for clinicians,” said Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland.

Source: Medical News Today, Journal of Adolescent Health

 
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