Interpersonal violence in childhood as a risk factor for obesity: A systematic review of the literature and proposed pathways

Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Obesity Reviews (Impact Factor: 8). 03/2011; 12(5):e159-72. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00823.x
Source: PubMed


We examined the associations between exposure to interpersonal violence in childhood and risk for obesity and central adiposity. Interpersonal violence is defined as behaviour that threatens, attempts or causes physical harm. In addition, we evaluated the evidence for three mechanisms that may connect interpersonal violence to obesity: negative affect, disordered eating and physical inactivity. Based on a literature search of Medline and PsycInfo databases, 36 separate studies were evaluated and ranked based on quality. Approximately 81% of the studies reported a significant positive association between some type of childhood interpersonal violence and obesity, although 83% of the studies were cross-sectional. Associations were consistent for caregiver physical and sexual abuse and peer bullying, and there was mixed evidence for community violence. Although few studies explored mechanisms, early evidence suggests that negative affect and disordered eating may be involved. More prospective studies are needed, as well as studies that examine the mechanisms connecting early childhood victimization to obesity and central adiposity.

    • "Victimized children displayed physical problems such as obesity (for a review, see Midei & Matthews, 2011) and psychosomatic complaints (for a meta-analysis, see Gini & Pozzoli, 2009). Likewise, longitudinal research showed that bullies and bully/victims were also more at risk for excessive psychosomatic symptoms (Kaltiala-Heino et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter describes the current research on the negative outcomes of traditional and cyberbullying concerning psychological health, physical health, social functioning, and behaviour problems. They explore these problems from the perspective of bullies, victims, bully/victims, and bystanders, and discuss whether the impact of cyberbullying compared to traditional bullying on the outcomes is equal, less, or more severe. Furthermore, they discuss the interrelatedness between (cyber-)bullying and negative (health) outcomes.
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    • "There are several possible mechanisms for our findings linking violence exposure and weight. Children exposed to DV are at heightened risk for negative affect and internalizing disorders (McLaughlin et al., 2012; Moylan et al., 2010), which may contribute to binge eating and other disordered eating behaviors (Midei & Matthews, 2011). This association could be the result of dysregulation in physiological systems that regulate responses to environmental stress, such as the ANS or HPA axis (Gunnar & Quevedo, 2007; Lupien et al., 2009) or increased emotional reactivity (Glaser et al., 2006; McLaughlin et al., 2010; Wichers et al., 2009) that contributes to maladaptive behavioral patterns, including poor dietary choices (Dallman et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether different types of childhood adversity are associated with body mass index (BMI) in adolescence, we studied 147 adolescents aged 13-17 years, 41% of whom reported exposure to at least one adversity (maltreatment, abuse, peer victimization, or witness to community or domestic violence). We examined associations between adversity type and age- and sex-specific BMI z-scores using linear regression and overweight and obese status using logistic regression. We adjusted for potential socio-demographic, behavioral, and psychological confounders and tested for effect modification by gender. Adolescents with a history of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or peer victimization did not have significantly different BMI z-scores than those without exposure (p>0.05 for all comparisons). BMI z-scores were higher in adolescents who had experienced physical abuse (β=0.50, 95% CI 0.12-0.91) or witnessed domestic violence (β=0.85, 95% CI 0.30-1.40). Participants who witnessed domestic violence had almost 6 times the odds of being overweight or obese (95% CI: 1.09-30.7), even after adjustment for potential confounders. No gender-by-adversity interactions were found. Exposure to violence in childhood is associated with higher adolescent BMI. This finding highlights the importance of screening for violence in pediatric practice and providing obesity prevention counseling for youth. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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    • "In another (Katz-Wise et al., 2014), sexual minority women, especially bisexual women, were more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse and report ruminative coping that is associated with binge eating, and to have a higher BMI than those without sexual abuse experiences. Sexual abuse is highly stigmatizing and associated with a broad constellation of psychological and physical health consequences in women in the general population, including disordered eating (Midei & Matthew, 2011). We do not know if lesbian/bisexual survivors of abuse have the same types of coping strategies as heterosexual women or have the same long-term consequences. "
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