University of Louisville research has discovered that people who are thinking about food or their weight for more than 70 percent of the day are likely on the path to an eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia nervosa.
Cheri Levinson is an assistant professor in psychology and the head of the UofL Eating Anxiety Treatment (EAT) lab and clinic. Her research on eating disorders included subjects using an app on their phone to log their thoughts four times every day.
“What we found was that some of these thoughts people have – thinking about weight gain or being preoccupied with food – predicted later eating disorder behavior,” Levinson said. “So we could map out how people’s thoughts are relating to eating disorders behavior.”
Levinson said the research findings are important because “we can take that information and tailor our treatment to those connections.”
Eating disorders are similar to obsessive compulsive disorder, with 40 percent of people with OCD also suffering from an eating disorder, according to Levinson. She says new research is also finding that genetics is the cause of as many as half the cases of anorexia nervosa.
The full interview with Levinson on “UofL Today with Mark Hebert” can be heard here.