Child Abuse and Obesity

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Child Abuse- A Cause of Adult Obesity

Abstract Child abuse can create an emotional hurt that never goes away. It creates a need that never seems to be met. In my paper I plan to show with the research, how child abuse can cause a person to develop an addiction to food and become obese as an adult. I started my personal battle with food as a young teen around the age of twelve when a classmate introduced me to crash diets. I thought if I could get thin enough someone would love me. Prior to that, food had always been a comfort, suddenly it became my enemy. Unfortunately, my Mother’s abuse never stopped so I turned back to my enemy, food, for comfort. I have had a love- hate relationship with food since. Food is now my addiction, and I am an obese adult.

Literature Review
Obesity is one of the most important public health problems facing the United States. 1 According to recent estimates, almost one third (32.2%) of adults are obese. 2 Public health initiatives intended to curb the current epidemic are focused primarily on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity,3 which are likely to be effective for many individuals.4–8 However, promoting these strategies alone may not be sufficient to prevent and reduce obesity among certain subgroups of the population because other factors may interfere with an individual’s ability to achieve nutrition and activity goals. Studies have suggested that exposure Child Abuse and Obesity to child abuse and neglect is associated with adult obesity. 9, 10 Unfortunately, exposure to child abuse is highly prevalent in the United States, 11 and for these individuals the sequelae of child abuse may significantly interfere with the adoption and maintenance of lifestyle changes recommended to reduce obesity. Exposure to trauma early in life is associated with multifaceted sequelae that may increase risk for obesity. For example, child abuse is associated with increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems, 14 which are characterized by intense negative emotional experience. An individual’s ability to cope with stress and negative emotions is associated with eating behavior and obesity, 15–19 and may influence an individual’s ability to implement nutrition and physical activity plans suggested for weight loss or prevention of weight gain. Recent research has identified a significant association between obesity and psychiatric disorders, but the causal direction of this relationship is unknown. From the Center for Health Care Evaluation (Alvarez, Kimerling , 2007), and National Center for PTSD (Pavas, Kimerling, 2007), VA Palo Alto Health Care System; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine (Alvarez), Palo Alto, California; and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Baumrind, for identification purposes only), Sacramento, California. While doing my research I also discovered that obesity risk increased with the number and severity of each type of abuse. Also, “In a study of overweight women in a primary care setting (Sansone et al., 1995), found that both highest and current body weights significantly and positively correlated with a history of child abuse. In a retrospective study of more than 13,000 individuals, Williamson and colleagues (2002) found that physical and verbal abuses were most strongly associated with increased body weight and/or obesity. While studying 53 morbidly obese bariatric surgery patients, Hunter (2003) found child abuse was twice that of the observed general population.” “Childhood maltreatment is known to be associated with obesity and depression ([Felitti et al., 1998] and [Green, 1993]; Gustafson & Sarwer, 2004).” “Self-reported childhood abuse is strongly associated with...
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