Emotional eating is eating a lot when you are sad or upset or in a negative mood. If you feel sad and keep on eating to comfort yourself then you are an emotional eater and your parents could be blamed for turning you into one.
Emotional eating is quite common in children and adolescents. A study by researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology, King’s College London, University College London, and the University of Leeds found that emotional eating was more likely seen in children whose parents fed them more and more to soothe their child’s negative feelings.
According to the lead author of this study, Silje Steinsbekk “Understanding where emotional eating comes from is important because such behaviour can increase the risk of becoming overweight and developing eating disorders.”
The researchers examined emotional eating in a group of 801 kids of 4 years age and later on 6 years, 8 years and 10 years. They examined if parents who were also a part of the group were responsible to shape such eating behaviour by feeding them and feel better when children were upset. A survey was conducted through questionnaire filled by parents to describe their children’s behaviour when upset, emotional eating by kids and emotional feeding by parents.
They found that children whose parents offered food to comfort at the age of 4 and 6 years had more emotional eating at a later age. Also parents who eat food to comfort themselves were more likely to offer food to children to soothe them.
Also, Children who get upset faster and easily have more difficulty controlling their emotions are then eventually are more likely to eat emotionally as compared to the calmer children. Rather than offering something to eat, parents must talk and calm them down when they are agitated. Listen to them; give them a big hug and talk to them about how they feel. Researchers are looking for reasons to find out what influences the development of emotional eating so that appropriate steps could be taken to prevent it.