Researchers at University College London (UCL)’s Institute of Child Health believe that they have discovered a gene that may explain why some teenagers binge on food.
A study was conducted and the results revealed that those who had a particular variation in the FTO locus were 20% more likely to binge eat. Interestingly, the trait was particularly prominent in girls as they were 30% more likely to binge eat if they had the variation.
The senior lecturer of the study is hopeful about the results and says that this provides an important step towards understanding the genetic risk for binge eating. Furthermore, it will also help develop strategies to help counter the current obesity crisis which is predicted to see the majority of the UK population being obese by 2050.
Doctor Nadia Micali, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at UCL’s Institute for Child Health commented:
“We know variations in the FTO gene can predict binge eating in teenagers and binge eating in turn, can predict obesity. Eventually this finding could allow us to develop more targeted treatment for binge eating and enable much earlier intervention so young people don’t develop obesity.”
It is estimated that a staggering 12 million people in the UK suffer from compulsive overeating to some extent and some of the most common signs include:
• Eating faster than usual
• Eating past the point of fullness
• Eating even when not hungry
• Feeling guilty or upset after overeating
• Feeling taken over or like you have no control when eating
• Trying to compensate for overeating by dieting or purging
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available. You can also contact us today.