A survey of more than 33, 000 Italian high school students reveals that both underweight and overweight teens consume 20 to 40% more illegal drugs than their normal-weight peers. Further analysis showed that the relationship between these two factors was largely mediated by psychosocial factors such as self-esteem, parents' educational level, and friendships. Based on these results, the authors conclude that abnormal weight and substance abuse are not directly related in a cause-effect relationship, but instead are likely both due to common underlying social factors and dissatisfaction. "Eating disorders have largely increased during the last decades, and obesity is a major public-health problem, especially since the phenomenon is spreading among children. Thus we believe that the results are important to better define targeted interventions", says Dr.
A new report in Biological Psychiatry suggests that deficits in endocannabinoid function may contribute to anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Endocannabinoids are substances made by the brain that affect brain function and chemistry in ways that resemble the effects of cannabis derivatives, including marijuana and hashish. These commonly abused drugs are well known to increase appetite, i.e. to cause the "munchies". Thus, it makes sense that deficits in this brain system would be associated with reduced appetite. Researchers measured the status of the endocannabinoid system indirectly by determining whether there was an increase or decrease in the density of endocannabinoid receptors, called the CB1 receptor, in several brain regions using positron emission tomography, or PET, imaging. They compared these densities in women with anorexia or bulimia with those of healthy women.
Binge eating is a disorder which affects both men and women, yet men remain underrepresented in research. A new study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has found that the medical impact of the disorder is just as damaging to men as it is to women, yet research has shown that the number of men seeking treatment is far lower than the estimated number of sufferers. "Binge eating is closely linked to obesity and excessive weight gain as well as the onset of hypertension, diabetes and psychiatric disorders such as depression, " said lead author Dr Ruth R. Striegel from Wesleyan University, Connecticut. "However most of the evidence about the impact of binge eating is based on female samples, as the majority of studies into eating disorders recruit women." As so few studies have included men there is concern that men may be reluctant to seek treatment, or health care providers may be less likely detect a disorder in a male patient, because eating disorders are widely seen as female problems.
It is well known that eating disorders are common among teens and college students. Heavy alcohol consumption is another well-known unhealthy habit of this age group. A new study from the University of Missouri shows that when college students combine these two unhealthy habits, their long-term health may be affected. "Drunkorexia" is a new term coined by the media to describe the combination of disordered eating and heavy alcohol consumption. Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health, examined the relationship between alcohol misuse and disordered eating, including calorie restriction and purging. Researchers found that 16 percent of those surveyed reported restricting calories to "save them" for drinking. Of the respondents, about three times as many women reported engaging in the behavior than men.
Catering to a child who is a picky eater is like being a short-order cook: chaotic. Dinnertime becomes a war zone, leading to hopeless battles fought over vegetables and macaroni and cheese. Picky eating is as normal as potty-training, a right of passage in childhood development. Taste buds evolve and food preferences expand in these early years. Even the best of parents can have a difficult time getting their child to eat. In fact, picky eating is one of the most common occurrences in children, often outgrown as the child reaches adolescence. But if eating behavior inhibits normal developmental and physical growth processes, it could be something much more severe a pediatric feeding disorder. "The difference between a fussy eater and a child with a feeding disorder is the impact the eating behavior has on a child's physical and mental health, " Peter Girolami, Ph.