Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Genes Lead Teens to Binge-Eat

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Genetic variations associated with obesity risk can also predict binge-eating, according to research published in Obesity.

“About 10% of adults and teenagers binge-eat, said Prof David Evans of The University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute. “While it’s known that a combination of genetic and environmental factors lead to eating disorders, until now there has been limited research into how specific genes increase the likelihood of binge-eating behaviours in adolescence that can lead to obesity.”

The researchers analysed data from 6000 adolescents aged 14 and 16, and found a young person with a particular variation in the location of the FTO gene was 20–30% more likely to binge-eat.

Evans said the pattern was particularly evident in girls, who were 30% more likely to binge-eat if they had the variation.

“It’s still early days in the research but we’re getting a better understanding of how these behaviours come about,” he said. “In the future it may also help us create strategies for identifying at-risk teenagers before they get to the stage where they are overweight or obese and face the many health problems associated with these issues.”

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.