Losing a Parent and Obesity

An intriguing new study just published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine suggests a link between the death of a parent in childhood (or prolonged separation) and obesity as an adult. Researchers in Italy interviewed 120 patients who were undergoing pre-surgical psychiatric consultation for bariatric surgery. Overall, 28 percent of the patients reported a childhood parental death or separation (and a whopping 91 percent were diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorder.) Of course, this in no way means that people who lose their parents when young will become obese, but it does suggest that both mental illness and trauma (and not just genetics or a lack of willpower as is commonly thought) may play a role in obesity.

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