TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Children with higher body mass index (BMI) have an increased risk for disordered eating behaviors, according to a research letter published online Aug. 1 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Stuart B. Murray, Ph.D., from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used data from 11,878 children (aged 9 to 10 years) participating in the ABCD (Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development) Study (baseline at 2016 to 2018) to assess the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors.

The researchers found no sex differences in disordered eating behaviors. They did observe higher odds of ever engaging in compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain with advanced pubertal maturation and among children with higher BMI. The prevalence of ever binge eating was 5.0 percent, while 2.2 percent reported binge eating at least once per week for three months. Among children with BMI in the fifth to <85th percentile, advanced pubertal maturation was associated with ever binge eating or binge eating at least once per week for three months; for children whose BMI ranged from the 85th to <95th percentile, advanced pubertal maturation was associated with ever binge eating.

“We tend to think that eating disorders predominantly afflict girls, but there’s more and more data showing that boys struggle just as much,” Murray said in a statement. “This is a call to arms to make sure we’re taking those cases seriously.”

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