Queer teens twice as likely to have this eating disorder, study says  

Author: Greg Owen

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are twice as likely as their straight peers to binge eat, according to a new study from the University of California at San Francisco. Binge eaters consume unusually large amounts of food without the ability or willingness to stop eating. It’s the most common eating disorder in the U.S., according to the study’s authors.

The new research is based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, a large long-term 2020 study of brain development and child health in the U.S., which included 10,000 adolescents aged 10 to 14 years old.

Binge-eating disorder (BED), affects 3 to 5% of the U.S. population — up to 16.6 million people (double the entire population of New York City) — and acts as a precursor to an array of medical and psychiatric problems, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and elevated suicidality.

“Binge eating can result in psychological effects like depression and anxiety, and long-term physical health problems, including diabetes and heart disease,” Nagata wrote. “Given the higher risk of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ youth, it is important that health care providers foster a welcoming environment to youth of all sexual orientations and genders.”

“Adolescents with eating disorders should seek professional help,” Nagata said. “Eating disorders are best supported by an interdisciplinary team, including a mental health, medical, and nutrition provider.”  

Teenagers from low-income families and those of Native American descent also had higher odds of BED, according to the report. Participants with a household income of less than $75,000 — the median family income in the U.S. — were twice as likely to develop BED than those with a household income over $75,000. 

While a “narrow, female-specific lens on disordered eating behaviors” continues to create the impression that eating disorders primarily affect women and girls, the data contradicts that widespread notion. In fact, the study revealed male adolescents had higher odds of binge-eating behaviors than their female counterparts.

“In male adults and adolescents, body dissatisfaction is often tied to a drive for muscularity and larger size as opposed to thinness,” the authors write. “Over half of young men who report weight gain and bulking goals report eating more to achieve this goal, which leads to the consumption of larger volumes of food.”

Men are also more likely than women to engage in “cheat meals,” eating episodes that temporarily depart from established eating routines. Cheat meals have been linked to overeating, loss of control while eating, and binge-eating behaviors as they can involve consuming huge volumes of food, anywhere from 1,000 to 9,000 calories in an episode.   

Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Greg Owen

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