A study of 16,882 boys and girls found that overeating and binge eating increases risk for substance abuse.
The finding stems from a 10-year research that involved participants, ages 9 to 16, who completed questionnaires regarding their eating and drug-use habits every one or two years, the Health Day reports. The questionnaires asked about the use of marijuana, hashish, cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, PCP, GHB, LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, ketamine, crystal meth and amphetamines, as well as non-prescription use of tranquilizers, painkillers, sleeping pills and stimulants.
“Physicians and parents should be aware that both overeating and binge eating are quite common in adolescents, and these problems put them at risk for other problems, such as drug use,” Kendrin Sonneville, the study’s lead author from Boston Children’s Hospital, told Reuters Health. “The earlier we can screen for who is at risk, the more able we are to prevent the onset of drug use.”
According to the researchers, those who overeat and binge eat are more likely to experiment with marijuana or other drugs. Kids and teens who had reported overeating on surveys were 2.7 times more likely to start using marijuana or other drugs, and binge eaters were 1.9 times more likely to take up drugs.
The authors couldn’t explain why that might be the case, but Sonneville noted it’s important to be aware that eating too much can create other problems in addition to weight gain.