Culture Post: Kids with Uncontrollable Appetites in Danger of Having Eating Disorders Years Later

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

Scientists have discovered a link between young children with ravenous appetites and eating disorders years later. Specifically, their findings reveal that four or five-year-olds who had powerful urges to eat whenever they saw, smelled, or tasted food went on to develop symptoms of eating disorders between the ages of 12 and 14.

“Although our study cannot prove causality, our findings suggest food cue responsiveness may be one predisposing risk factor for the onset of eating disorder symptoms in adolescence,” says Dr. Ivonne Derks, a research fellow at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care and co-lead author of the study, in a university release.

Derks warns, however, that an enthusiastic appetite is not an unusual thing for kids and only becomes a concern when a child cannot resist food. The study author warns parents that this is only one of many risk factors that could contribute to future eating disorders.

Having a strong urge to eat food (higher food responsiveness) displayed a link to a 16 to 47-percent increased likelihood of developing eating disorder symptoms. These symptoms included binge eating, uncontrolled eating, emotional eating, restrained eating, and compensatory behaviors.

Study authors tracked the eating behaviors of children born in Rotterdam, Netherlands between 2002 and 2006. They also followed twins in England and Wales in 2007. Parents rated their four or five-year-olds’ appetites using a questionnaire. Almost 10 years later, the researchers had the 12 to 14-year-olds self-report their eating behavior.

The study was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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