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Child maltreatment increases risk of adult obesity
Date:5/21/2013

he link was explained by reverse causality (i.e. children are maltreated because they were obese).

However, the analysis showed that when current depression was taken into account, the link between childhood maltreatment and adult obesity was no longer significant, suggesting that depression might help explain why some maltreated individuals become obese.

Previous studies offer possible biological explanations for this link. Maltreated individuals may eat more because of the effects of early life stress on areas of the developing brain linked to inhibition of feeding, or on hormones regulating appetite. Alternatively, maltreated individuals may burn fewer calories because of the effects of early life stress on the immune system leading to fatigue and reduced activity. The authors add that these hypotheses will need to be directly tested in future studies.

Dr Danese adds: "If the association is causal as suggested by animal studies, childhood maltreatment could be seen as a potentially modifiable risk factor for obesity - a health concern affecting one third of the population and often resistant to interventions.

He concludes: "Additional research is needed to clarify if and how the effects of child maltreatment on obesity could be alleviated through interventions after maltreatment has occurred. Our next step will be to explore the mechanisms behind this link."


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Contact: Seil Collins
seil.collins@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-5377
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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