Eating too much

Although many recent studies document an alarming worldwide increase in obesity, particularly among young children, not everyone who is larger or heavier than the current American ideal has an eating disorder. Human bodies come in many different sizes, and some healthy people are just naturally larger or heavier than others. An eating disorder may be present, though, when i A person continually confuses the desire for food (appetite) with the need for food (hunger)

i A person who has access to a normal diet experiences psychological distress when denied food i A person uses food to relieve anxiety provoked by what he or she considers a scary situation — a new job, a party, ordinary criticism, or a deadline

Traditionally, doctors have found that treating obesity successfully is difficult (see Chapter 3). However, recent research suggests that some people overeat in response to irregularities in the production of chemicals that regulate satiety (your feeling of fullness). This research may open the path to new kinds of drugs that can control extreme appetite, thus reducing the incidence of obesity-related disorders such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

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