Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: Binge Eating - Aug. 29th

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) It's a new school year and that means college students are back in the grind of dorm room or apartment cooking and eating. For many students, eating disorders become a serious concern this time of year byt either eating too little or eating too much. We're looking at the dangers of over-eating or binge eating, and the effect it can have on the body.

Dr. Alicia Arnold says, “Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in our country, affecting 3.5 percent of women, 2 percent of men and 1.6 percent of adolescents."

Many of us are guilty of over-eating during weekends, cook-outs or holidays, but do you know the difference between overindulging and binge eating?

“Binge eating is when you eat a very large amount of food in a short time,” Arnold says, “but, you feel you cannot control what or how much you are eating.

Arnold adds that feelings of distress can lead to binge eating, and binges may be done in secret and may be associated with guilt or shame.

Also, up until 2013 it wasn't even considered a disorder.

Arnold says, “Prior to 2013, anorexia and bulimia were named eating disorders and binge eating disorder was considered part of a larger category of not otherwise specified eating disorders.”

Just like other eating disorders, both men and women are impacted.

“For women, the symptoms typically begin in early adulthood, but for men they are most common in midlife.”

If you or someone you know is a binge eater, help is out there.

Arnold says, “This is different than occasional over-eating. It is a disease and not a choice. Treatments are available.”

Dr. Arnold also says not all people with binge eating disorder are overweight. They can be normal weight as well. Of course, not everyone who is overweight is a binge eater either