Binge drinking is strongly associated with eating problems among Russian girls

February 20, 2015

Adolescent binge drinking has been linked to a host of problems, including worse school performance, risky sexual behaviors, illicit drugs, and a greater risk of suicide. Binge drinking may also be linked to problematic eating behavior, yet little research exists. A study of the relationship between binge drinking and eating problems among Russian adolescents has found that problematic eating behaviors and attitudes are commonplace, and that binge drinking is associated with more eating problems in girls than boys.

Results will be published in the March 2015 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Although binge drinking has been studied in relation to a variety of different health risk behaviors, there has been comparatively little research undertaken on the association between binge drinking and problematic eating behavior," said Andrew Stickley, a researcher at Södertörn University in Sweden and corresponding author for the study. "Most of this research has been undertaken in North America. Several studies among adolescents have linked binge drinking to various forms of disordered eating such as fasting, using diet pills, and purging behaviors."

Stickley and his colleagues used information from the Social and Health Assessment (SAHA), a cross-sectional school-based survey carried out in Arkhangelsk, Russia, to analyze data on 2,488 (1485 girls, 1003 boys) 6th to 10th grade students (aged 13 to17 years old). Information was collected on various eating problems - worries about weight, feeling fat, excessive eating, fasting and excessive exercise, and purging behaviors - as well as binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks in a row.

"There were two main findings," said Stickley. "First, problematic eating behaviors and attitudes were commonplace among Russian adolescents, especially among girls. Second, binge drinking was associated with eating problems among both sexes, although it was linked with more eating problems in girls."

Stickley explained these gender differences in greater detail. "Nearly 50 percent of Russian girls worried about how to stop gaining weight, while almost one-third of them had fasted or engaged in excessive exercise to prevent weight gain," he said. "Among boys, problems were less prevalent, although 35 percent of them reported excessive eating. The prevalence of purging behaviors - such as vomiting or using laxatives - was however, much lower among both sexes. After adjusting for potential confounders, for girls, binge drinking was associated with five of the six eating problems we examined, while among boys, binge drinking was linked to two problems - feeling fat, and vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain."

What this means, added Stickley, is that the cross-sectional association between binge drinking and eating problems observed previously among North American adolescents can also be found among Russian adolescents. "This suggests that the association between binge drinking and eating problems in adolescence might occur across different country settings regardless of the socioeconomic environment or particular drinking culture," he said.

Stickley suggested that more research on this association be conducted among adolescents and adults in other countries in the world. "It is also essential that this research be longitudinal," he said, "to help determine how binge drinking and problematic eating behaviors are linked across time and whether - and how - other factors such as depression affect this association."

Lastly, Stickley had advice for clinicians and prevention specialists "Given the close link between these risky health behaviors," he said, "when one is detected it would also be advisable for clinicians to screen for the other, while looking for factors that might underpin both such as stress, personality characteristics etc."
Sherry Wasilow, science writer & doctoral candidate

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper, "Binge Drinking and Eating Problems in Russian Adolescents," were: Ai Koyanagi of the Stockholm Center on Health of Societies in Transition at Södertörn University in Sweden; Roman Koposov of the Regional Center for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare at The Arctic University of Norway; Martin McKee and Adrianna Murphy of the European Center on Health of Societies in Transition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Vladislav Ruchkin of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Division of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

Related Binge Drinking Articles from Brightsurf:

A key brain region for controlling binge drinking has been found
A team of researchers at the Charleston Alcohol Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina has found that turning off a stress signaling system in a single specific brain area can reduce harmful binge drinking.

What leads to compulsive alcohol use? New experiments into binge drinking provide answers
New study from neuroscientists at Vanderbilt provides initial answers to long-standing scientific questions on what causes the transition from moderate to compulsive alcohol consumption - and what makes some drinkers particularly vulnerable to developing alcohol use disorders.

Mechanism connects early binge drinking to adult behaviors
Intermittent exposure to high levels of alcohol in adolescent animals leads to increased levels of microRNA-137 in the brains of adults.

Diverging trends: Binge drinking and depression
Binge drinking among U.S. adolescents precipitously declined from 1991 to 2018, according to a new study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Frequent drinking is greater risk factor for heart rhythm disorder than binge drinking
Drinking small amounts of alcohol frequently is linked with a higher likelihood of atrial fibrillation than binge drinking, according to research published today in EP Europace, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Depression and binge-drinking more common among military partners
New research from King's College London suggests that depression and binge-drinking are more common among the female partners of UK military personnel than among comparable women outside the military community.

Depression, cannabis use, and binge drinking are on the rise among US former smokers
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that the prevalence of depression, cannabis use, and alcohol abuse increased among former smokers from 2005 to 2016 in the United States.

Depression, cannabis use and binge drinking increase the risk of relapse among former smokers
The prevalence of depression, cannabis use, and alcohol abuse increased among former smokers from 2005 to 2016 in the U.S., according to a new study by researchers at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Binge drinking may be more damaging to women
In a recently published study examining the effects of binge drinking on rats, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine discovered that female rats who were of equal age and weight to male rats were more sensitive to alcohol and experienced alcoholic liver injury at a higher rate than male rats.

Binge drinking in adolescence may increase risk for anxiety later in life
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming.

Read More: Binge Drinking News and Binge Drinking Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to