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Child Abuse Negl. 1991;15(1-2):77-88.

Reported hyperphagia in foster children.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461.


In evaluating a large group of foster children from biological families with a high incidence of alcohol and/or drug abuse, there emerges a subsample of children with both atypical eating patterns as well as atypical behavior patterns. Their physical and behavioral characteristics are described. These children are neither obese nor "failure to thrive." They display an excessive appetite for food, a driven quality to their eating, an apparent lack of satiety, and frequent eating to the point of vomiting or gastric pain if food intake is not limited externally. All of these children have psychiatric disorders. Hyperphagia appears to be a marker for significant psychopathology.

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