Childhood abuse tied to food addiction in women

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A NEW research discovered that women who had extreme physical or sexual abuse as children are much more likely than others to develop a food addiction.

It was noted that women with food addiction are more likely to be overweight,
according to the study led by Susan Mason of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical in Boston.

The research authors suggested their findings could shed light on potential causes of food addiction and obesity, and lead to improved treatment strategies, Health Day News reported.


More than one-third of American women experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse as children or teens, according to the study. Some studies have suggested that the resulting stress drives these females to eat sugary, high-calorie “comfort” foods.

For the study, published in a recent online edition of the journal Obesity, the researchers examined information compiled in 2001 on more than 57,000 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Specifically, they analyzed histories on any physical or sexual abuse the women faced in childhood. The investigators also examined data collected in 2009 on any significant addiction-like eating behaviors the women developed later in life, Health Day reported.

The study revealed that eight percent of the participants had a food addiction.

Women who were abused physically or sexually before age 18 were nearly twice as likely as others to develop a food addiction by the time they were middle-aged adults.

For women who endured both physical and sexual abuse, the odds of developing a food addiction were even greater, according to a journal news release. The study showed the prevalence of food addiction varied from six percent among women who were not abused to 16 percent among those who faced severe physical and sexual abuse, according to Health Day.

The findings do not prove that childhood abuse causes food addiction in adulthood, the study noted.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 05, 2013.


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