Binge eating affects up to 15 percent women

January 2nd, 2010 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 2 (IANS) Some 10 to 15 percent women are affected by binge eating behaviours and attitudes, a new study says.
“Our results are disquieting,” said Lise Gauvin, a professor of social and preventive medicine at the Montreal University, who conducted the study.

“Women are exposed to many contradictory messages. They are encouraged to lose weight yet also encouraged to eat for the simple pleasure of it,” Gauvin added.

Some 1,501 women took part in the phone survey on eating disorders. Not one participant was classified as anorexic. Their average age was 31, the majority being non-smokers and university graduates.

Gauvin said the study sheds new light on binge eating and bulimia, which are characterised in part by excessive eating accompanied by feelings of having lost control.

“About 13.7 percent of the interviewed women reported binge eating one to five days or one to seven times per month,” Gauvin says, with 2.5 percent of them forcing themselves to vomit, use laxatives, or use diuretics to maintain weight.

The investigation also established a link between problematic eating behaviours and self-rated health. In other words, deviant eating behaviours are more likely to occur in women who perceived themselves to be in poor health.

Another finding was that 28 percent of women complete intense exercise twice a month with the sole objective of losing weight, a Montreal Univesity release said.

“We practice a sport for the pleasure it provides, to feel good, but when the activity is done to gain control over one’s weight and figure, it is indicative of someone who could be excessively concerned about their weight,” said Gauvin.

The study was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the findings were published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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