UC San Diego Logo We all know that binge eating often leads to obesity and most kids and adults succumb to it. Many behavioral techniques used to combat the same don’t seem to have long term influences. More recently, scientists from the University of California, San Diego have stepped towards new ways to treat overeating among children and grown-ups.

The study basically seemed to tackle the question, ‘how do we learn to stop eating when we are no longer hungry?’ The objective of the scientists was to enhance responsiveness to internal hunger and satiety factors while controlling bodily and psychological responsiveness to foods in the surroundings.

Firstly, something known as appetite awareness training, informed children and adults to comprehend and identify hunger and satisfaction clues. Secondly, cue exposure training helped kids and their parents to resist the temptation of eating the food present in front of their eyes.

“We teach children and parents how the environment tricks us into eating foods even when we’re not hungry,” commented Kerri Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

In this analysis, 36 obese children in the age-group 8 to 12 and frequently overeating were exposed to a 8 week long training, in any one of the aforesaid treatments. After extensive training sessions, 75% of children in the appetite awareness set and almost above 50% in the cue exposure group reported their satisfaction over the program. About 81% and 69% from the former and latter group were apparently able to control their hunger better.

The scientists concluded that the cue exposure avenue looked like a beneficial alternative to control eating when not hungry. Moreover, this group encountered a long term effect as the influences could be seen even after 6 months of treatment. On the other hand, those in the appetite awareness group did not show considerable long term impact.

This trial could lead to a new way to combat obesity and a sense of self-control. It is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.