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Study: Stress Eating in Early Childhood May Lead to Extra Weight Later
Updated:2018-03-13 15:20:00

A US study has showed that children as young as four years old who experience stress eat more in the absence of hunger, beginning a cycle that could possibly mean extra pounds down the road.
Unlike previous cross-sectional research, this study from the University of Michigan focused on behavior over time. Researchers followed 207 low-income children from 2009 to 2015, recorded stress exposures and observed their eating behaviors.
The researchers define early life stress as chaotic home environments, and exposure to other negative life events, such as witnessing violence or trauma or experiencing material deprivation.
Children in poverty are extremely vulnerable to violence exposure, food scarcity and worry over limited resources. These stresses can result in neurobiological, cognitive, social-emotional, behavioral and physical health effects.
In the study, the researchers found that greater stress exposure correlated to increases in eating in absence of hunger and in emotional overeating.




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