Teens who overeat or binge eat are at higher risk of trying out drugs like marijuana and other drugs, says a new study.
"It may be easy to overlook eating problems in normal-weight or healthy-weight kids. We need to think about eating habits even before they maybe affect a kid's weight, but realize these may be a risk factor for other problems down the road," Kendrin Sonneville, from Boston Children's Hospital, reports Reuters Health.
The study found that children who have binge eating episodes also tend to be depressed.
"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," said Sonneville, Reuters Health reported.
The study included 16,882 boys and girls who were 9 to 15 years old in 1996. These children had participated in the Growing Up Today Study. Conditions like binge eating and overeating were assessed by questionnaires that were answered by these children every 12 to 24 months between 1996 and 2005.
Some 2.3 percent to 3.1 percent females in the study group said that they have binge eating episodes compared to 0.3 percent to 1 percent of males, reports Science Codex.
During the study period, about 32 percent of the youth used illicit drugs and 41 percent used marijuana. Children who had reported overeating were 2.7 times more likely to use marijuana and those reporting binge eating during childhood were 1.9 times more likely to use other illicit drugs.
Children who reported overeating, with or without loss of self-control, were found to be at higher risk of using drugs. The study doesn't show a cause and effect relationship, but suggests that one type of behavior may show that there is risk for the child to develop another behavior.
The study is published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Published by Medicaldaily.com