Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood trauma could lead to adult obesity

Date:
September 2, 2014
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Being subjected to abuse during childhood entails a markedly increased risk of developing obesity as an adult. This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis carried out on previous studies, which included a total of 112,000 participants.

Being subjected to abuse during childhood entails a markedly increased risk of developing obesity as an adult. This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis carried out on previous studies, which included a total of 112,000 participants. The analysis was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and has been published in the journal Obesity Reviews.

Related Articles


"The study clearly shows that difficult life events leave traces which can manifest as disease much later in life. The mechanisms behind this process include stress, negative patterns of thought and emotions, poor mental health, increased inflammation, as well as lowered immune function and metabolism," says Erik Hemmingsson, researcher at the Huddinge Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, who is also linked to the Karolinska University Hospital's Obesity Centre in Huddinge, Stockholm County.

Based on a meta-analysis, in which 23 studies with a total of 112,000 participants, he and his colleagues calculated that the risk of obesity was 34 percent higher among adults who had been subjected to abuse as children than among non-abused adults. When categorised based on different forms of abuse, the study showed that physical abuse during childhood increased the risk of obesity by 28 percent, emotional abuse by 36 percent, sexual abuse by 31 percent, and general abuse by 45 percent. Among those who had been subjected to severe abuse, the risk increased by 50 percent, compared to 13 per cent for moderate abuse.

"These findings indicate causality, where the abuse is the cause of the obesity later in life. However, not everyone who is subjected to abuse will develop obesity, and not all obese individuals have been abused, so there are obviously other causes too. At the same time, it is important to remember that child abuse is more common than we think, and it needs to be brought to light. Between five and ten per cent of the adult population say that they have been subjected to some form of abuse during childhood," says Erik Hemmingsson.

In another recently published paper, Erik Hemmingsson has developed a new theoretical model for how stressful childhood experiences increase the risk of obesity, via psychological and emotional factors. These factors impact negatively on appetite regulation, metabolism, eating behaviour, sleep, inflammation and cognitive function -- which in turn pave the way for obesity. Erik Hemmingsson hopes that the published studies might help disprove the many preconceptions that exist about people who are overweight, as they show that obesity is caused by so many other factors than overeating or a sedentary lifestyle.

"Our current view of both the occurrence and treatment of obesity is far too narrow, since we talk almost exclusively about diet and exercise," he explains. "These new studies indicate that we need to take a much more holistic approach in the treatment and prevention of obesity, where we give more consideration to the individual's childhood as well as psychological and emotional aspects. It can for example be about self-esteem and self-image, thought patterns, emotional stress factors and mental ill-health, and there may thus be a need for psychotherapy or cognitive therapy to obtain lasting positive effects on obesity."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. E. Hemmingsson, K. Johansson, S. Reynisdottir. Effects of childhood abuse on adult obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/obr.12216
  2. E. Hemmingsson. A new model of the role of psychological and emotional distress in promoting obesity: conceptual review with implications for treatment and prevention. Obesity Reviews, 2014; 15 (9): 769 DOI: 10.1111/obr.12197

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Childhood trauma could lead to adult obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902092947.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2014, September 2). Childhood trauma could lead to adult obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902092947.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Childhood trauma could lead to adult obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902092947.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins