Ranking as one of the most obese countries in the world, we are constantly searching for explanations as to why the U.S. continues to gain weight. Too much fast food, lack of exercise, slow metabolisms, and outrageous meal portions all top the list of explanations. And scientists at Harvard may have found another reason for the growing size of our stomachs: sexual and physical abuse during childhood.
A study reveals that women who have a history of childhood abuse are more likely than women who don’t to develop an addiction to food, which can lead to obesity down the road, according to The Huffington Post. The study of 57,321 women found that food addiction was twice as common among the women who had experienced some kind of sexual or physical abuse before reaching 18 years old of age than the women in the study who expressed no history of abuse.
Behaviors like eating when you’re not hungry or full, eating to the point of sickness, going out of your way for food, and experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when abstaining from certain foods are all signs of food addiction.
Men were not included in this study, but another study suggests that men with a history of abuse during childhood were 66 percent more likely to be obese than men without.