Young African American girls who binge eat are more likely to report suicide attempts, suggests study.
According to a new study of African American girls, by Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University in the US, those who experience depressive and anxious symptoms are often dissatisfied with their bodies and more likely to display binge eating behaviors.
These behaviors put them at higher risk for turning their emotions inward, in other words, displaying internalizing symptoms such as suicide.
With the focus on appearance in Western culture, it is not uncommon for many girls and women to have eating behavior problems.
The most frequently occurring problem eating behaviors are binge eating, or eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and feeling out of control while eating.
This behavior leads to shame, embarrassment, distress and an attempt to conceal it.
Musci and team investigated how depressive and anxious symptoms may be precursors to binge eating behaviors and suicidal outcomes in 313 black females followed for 11 years, from the ages of approximately 6-17 years old.
Teacher, parent, and child interviews were carried out, examining levels of anxiety, depression, satisfaction with physical appearance, and eating behaviors, particularly binge eating.
Adolescent girls with more binge eating behaviors reported more suicide attempts.
The study is published online in Springer's journal, Prevention Science.