In this study, researchers from the United States sought to assess the prevalence of overeating among adolescents.
They also examined associations between overeating and sociodemographic characteristics, weight status, dieting behaviors, body satisfaction, depressive mood, self-esteem, and suicide.
The research team studied a school-based sample of 4746 boys and girls in public middle and high schools in Minnesota.
The team used survey information, and anthropometric measurements of height and weight to assess subjects.
They found that 17% of girls and 8% of boys reported objective overeating in the past year.
|17% of girls and 8% of boys reported objective overeating in the past year.|
The team also found that youths who engaged in overeating were more likely to be overweight or obese, to have dieted in the past year, to be trying to lose weight currently, and to report that weight and shape are very important to their overall feelings about self.
Furthermore, youths who met criteria for binge eating syndrome scored significantly lower on measures of body satisfaction and self-esteem.
They also scored higher on a measure of depressive mood than those who reported either subclinical or no binge eating.
Overeating was associated with suicide risk.
The team found that 29% of girls and 28% of boys who met criteria for binge eating syndrome reported that they had attempted suicide.
Dr Diann Ackard's team concluded, "Overeating among adolescents is associated with a number of adverse behaviors and negative psychological experiences".
"As the current study is cross-sectional, it is not possible to ascertain cause and effect".
"Future research should seek to identify whether objective overeating is an early warning sign of additional psychological distress or is a potential consequence of compromised psychological health".