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Eat Disord. 2011 Jul-Aug;19(4):295-307. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2011.584803.

Addiction to highly pleasurable food as a cause of the childhood obesity epidemic: a qualitative Internet study.

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  • 1eHealth International, 2800 Elliott Avenue #1430, Seattle, WA 98121, USA. director@weigh2rock.com

Abstract

An interactive, open-access website was launched as an overweight intervention for teens and preteens, and was generally unsuccessful. An understanding was needed of the reasons for weight loss failures versus successes in youth using the site. Bulletin board posts, chat room transcripts, and poll responses were prospectively gathered and qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed over a ten-year period. Many respondents, ages 8 to 21, exhibited DSM-IV substance dependence (addiction) criteria when describing their relationship with highly pleasurable foods. Further research is needed on possible addiction to highly pleasurable foods in youth. Incorporating substance dependence methods may improve the success rate in combating the childhood obesity epidemic.

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