It is well established that early life adversities including sexual abuse is associated with an increase in body weight over the life course. A popular but unproven theory is that abused individuals deliberately and/or subconsciously increase their food consumption in order to gain weight, thus avoiding the likelihood of future sexual victimization. While this theory may apply in some cases, emerging evidence suggests that early life sexual abuse can become biologically embedded in ways that increase risk for eating disorders and “food addiction.” This presentation reviews the current literature that links trauma to eating behavior and discusses various biological mechanisms which might help explain the association between sexual abuse and weight gain. Implications for treatment including nutritional considerations are discussed.
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Meeting ID: 864 9740 2774