Disordered Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in Youth with Overweight and Obesity: Implications for Treatment

Curr Obes Rep. 2018 Sep;7(3):235-246. doi: 10.1007/s13679-018-0316-9.


Purpose of the review: Children with obesity experience disordered eating attitudes and behaviors at high rates, which increases their risk for adult obesity and eating disorder development. As such, it is imperative to screen for disordered eating symptoms and identify appropriate treatments.

Recent findings: Family-based multicomponent behavioral weight loss treatment (FBT) is effective at treating childhood obesity and demonstrates positive outcomes on psychosocial outcomes, including disordered eating. FBT utilizes a socio-ecological treatment approach that focuses on the development of individual and family healthy energy-balance behaviors as well as positive self- and body esteem, supportive family relationships, richer social networks, and the creation of a broader environment and community that facilitates overall physical and mental health. Existing literature suggests FBT is an effective treatment option for disordered eating and obesity in children. Future work is needed to confirm this conclusion and to examine the progression and interaction of obesity and disordered eating across development to identify the optimal time for intervention.

Keywords: Childhood obesity; Disordered eating; Obesity treatment; Psychological comorbidities; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / physiopathology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*