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Can childhood trauma lead to severe obesity?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, trauma is a significant risk factor for obesity and binge eating. Childhood traumas such as emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, parental alcoholism/drug abuse, severely dysfunctional family patterns, and other stresses severely affect adult physical and mental health. Binge eating is a way for many to fill a void and protect themselves from negative feelings or emotions. The psychological trauma from childhood often lasts much longer than the real trauma. For many the trauma can lead to emotional overeating and even binge eating. Both cause weight gain and if continued for a long period of time obesity. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Suffering abuse, neglect and other psychological pain in childhood can be a cause of extreme obesity. In this video, psychiatrist and Dr. Oz Show guest Keith Ablow talks to a group of severely obese women about how childhood trauma might have started a damaging cycle of weight gain, and how they can break it.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.