According to a recent study published in the November issue of SAGE Publications' Western Journal of Nursing Research (WJNR), a considerable part of binge eating happens in eat-outs and restaurants, contrary to popular belief that overeating happens in private.In the United States, it has been observed that hefty portion sizes, bingeing on fast food, eating out often and an inactive lifestyle, are major triggers for obesity.
But little is known about the restaurant eating habits of those who binge eat, (the uncontrolled consumption of large amounts of food without purging). In an effort to understand how the restaurant environment affects binge eaters, and to improve future interventions, this study looked at the eating behaviors of binge eaters - compared to dieters - when dining out.
The study, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institute of Health, asked female binge eaters and dieters to record their daily food intake. The study showed that, not only did both groups consume more calories and fat on days they ate out, it also revealed that about 30% of binges occurred at restaurants. Binge eaters were likely to perceive their restaurant eating as uncontrolled and excessive. This contradicts the perception that binge eating takes place in private.
"Obesity experts continue to search for solutions to the epidemic of obesity," writes WJNR editor, Gayle M. Timmerman, author of the article. "The trend to eat at restaurants continues to rise. This frequent dining out, along with the consumption of additional calories, could contribute to weight gain over time. Restaurants are high-risk food environments that may exacerbate uncontrolled eating and excessive intake."