NEW ORLEANS — Binge eating during adolescence may be predicted by eating in the absence of hunger during childhood, study data show.
“Eating in the absence of hunger increases the risk for overweight, obesity and weight gain over time in children and adolescents. Binge eating has also been shown to increase the risk for weight gain and obesity over time,” Katherine Balantekin, PhD, RD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said during her presentation. “Binge eating is characterized by objectively eating a large amount of food with feelings of loss of control. It has been proposed in the literature that eating in the absence of hunger and binge eating share several similarities; however, this has not yet been examined in the research. Both binge eating and eating in the absence of hunger can be associated with negative emotions.”
Balantekin and colleagues evaluated 158 girls aged 7 and 15 years to determine whether eating in the absence of hunger at age 7 years predicts reports of binge eating at age 15 years.
The eating in the absence of hunger protocol and questionnaires regarding anxiety, depression, dietary restraint, disinhibition and body dissatisfaction were completed by participants at age 7 years. The Binge Eating Scale was used to assess binge eating at age 15 years, and scores of 18 or higher were considered binge eating.
Binge eating at age 15 years was predicted using logistic regression from calories consumed during eating in the absence of hunger at age 7 years. Participants were 1.72 times more likely to binge eat at age 15 years for each additional 100 kcal consumed during the eating in the absence of hunger after adjusting for BMI at age 7 years (P < .01). Binge eating at age 15 years was predicted by a high rate of eating in the absence of hunger, BMI, anxiety, depression, dietary restraint, emotional disinhibition and body dissatisfaction at age 7 years; participants were 1.28 times more likely to binge eat at age 15 years with each additional BMI unit at age 7 years (P < .01).
“Eating in the absence of hunger, a behavioral measure of disinhibited eating during childhood, predicts self-reported binge-eating behavior in adolescence,” Balantekin said. “This suggests that eating in the absence of hunger may be a precursor of later binge eating. If we’re thinking of prevention programs, and we really want to narrow in on a group to target, we may want to look at those who have reported eating in the absence of hunger.” – by Amber Cox
Balantekin K, et al. T-OR-LB-2103. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2016; Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2016; New Orleans.
Disclosure: Balantekin reports no relevant financial disclosures.