When children are not fussy about food, it is a matter of great relief for parents but one must watch out for anomalies. Are children eating more rapidly than usual? Are they consuming large quantities even when not hungry? Are they eating alone and not with family and friends? Well, these could be just some of the symptoms of a condition called ‘Binge Eating Disorder.’
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical Nutritionist BGS Global Hospitals. says,” BED is characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating at least two or four times a week. The person having this trait has a loss of control over his or her consumption behavior. Most of them could have associated personality disorders, episodes of depression, anxiety and lack of self-esteem, insecurity about body image, feelings of disgust and guilt after a binge.”
These traits are not only seen in adolescents who are embarrassed or insecure about their body but also seen among young married women/working girls. Men and boys also suffer from this disorder but it is more common among girls and young women.
Experts say that about one in five women report having had binge eating episodes. “People with these symptoms actually tend to diet more often and also enroll in weight control programmes. Most of such cases also have a family history of this condition,” says, Dr Sunil Christopher, Internal Medicine, Dayanand Sagar Hospital.
Impact on health
The impact is both on the body and mind. Since individuals have lost control on their eating and eat even when they are not physically hungry, they put on weight and easily become obese. They lose self-esteem because of their weight issues and become depressed and anxious.
Obesity and binge eating
Compulsive overeating usually leads to obesity. Obesity, in turn, causes numerous medical complications, including:
Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Joint and muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Sleep apnoea
Impact on social life
Individuals withdraw from society and like to be left alone and spend more time with themselves.
These persons suffer from depression, guilt, anxiety and hence try to avoid hanging out with friends. They also spend less time with family and avoid social networking.
Tips to control binge eating
Seek help from psychologists/counsellors as they can systematically treat your child and understand the cause for low self-esteem and decode body image issues. Once they regain their self-worth, they will phase out their binge eating habits.
Tips for healthy eating
Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical Nutritionist at BGS Global Hospitals recommends:
- Eat a balanced diet which comprises all food groups like cereals, protein rich dairy, pulses/egg/lean meat and vegetables.
- Watch your portion sizes
- Healthy snacks are a must in the form of fruits, nuts and dry fruits.
- Hydrate your body well .
- Do not ignore hunger as you will go overboard with your eating if you become ravenous.
Demotivated and depressed individuals do not like to exercise but with counselling and encouragement, they will be able to ease into an exercise routine.