The phenomenology of childhood and adolescent loss of control (LOC) eating is unknown. The authors interviewed 445 youths to assess aspects of aberrant eating. LOC was associated with eating forbidden food before the episode; eating when not hungry; eating alone; and experiencing secrecy, negative emotions, and a sense of "numbing" while eating (ps < .01). Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed a subgroup, most of whom reported LOC eating. Cluster members reported having a trigger initiate episodes, eating while watching television, and having decreased awareness regarding the amount consumed. The authors conclude that aspects of LOC eating during youth are similar to aspects of adult episodes, but a youth-specific presentation may exist. Findings may provide an intervening point to prevent excessive weight gain and eating disorders.
- binge eating
- loss of control eating