Loss-of-control eating in youths is powerful predictor

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Before Friday morning’s presentation at the BEDA national conference by Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, I would have assumed that binge eating in children is an excellent predictor of developing binge-eating disorder and other conditions.

But there’s something even better, said Tanofsky-Kraff, a researcher in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences: Loss-of-control eating. But wait, isn’t that just semantics? No. Binge eating require both loss of control and eating large amounts.

Tanofsky-Kraff’s research showed that kids who exhibit LOC eating without overeating are considerably more likely to have disordered eating generally and to have symptoms of depression than kids who overeat without loss of control. Surprisingly, the same goes for body weight: LOC eating alone results in more weight gain than overeating. In all three cases, LOC eating is equivalent to LOC eating plus overeating.

Tanofsky-Kraff also reported that young LOC eaters reported far greater negative emotion and guilt and/or shame than young overeaters, were far more likely to eat alone or secretively, and reported extremely higher sense of numbing.

Using these and other findings, Tanofsky-Kraff concluded that targeting LOC eating in children may be a way to reduce BED and high obesity.

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