How Dangers of Alcohol and Obesity Risk are Linked

According to a research study carried out at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the risk of alcoholism may now be associated with the risk for obesity. The results of the study were published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal Archives of General Psychiatry.  The lead researchers found that an association between a family history of alcoholism and a family history of obesity is beginning to become more prevalent.  Although alcoholics tend to not be obese and are usually instead malnourished with low body weight, the explanation for obesity in those people who have a family history of alcoholism may be substituting one addiction for another such as food.  A person may see a loved one suffer from alcoholism so may tend to stay away from alcohol but if an addictive personality is genetic they may look for something else that can give them the same effects such as choosing food as their addiction.

Study details:

  • Cross-heritability is an important aspect of addiction research, which looks at whether the predisposition to one condition might contribute to the predisposition to another condition.
  • The research seems to be more pertinent to recent times as only 15 percent of people were obese in the United States in 1970 and by 2004 the percentage rose to 33 percent.
  • Researchers found that women with a family history of alcoholism were at a higher risk of becoming obese (49 percent presently) and the risk seems to be growing.
  • It is speculated that the availability of foods in excess, which affects the same regions of the brain as addictive drugs, is responsible for this undesirable development.  The foods available today are high in sugar, fat and salt content, which activate the reward centers of the brain and people with risk of addiction might be compelled by the brain to over consume these high calorie foods.

Analyzing the data of two large alcoholism surveys, carried out in 1991-92 and 2001-02 on 80,000 people by The National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, respectively, arrived at these conclusions. The study was supported by funds from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute of Drug Abuse of the NIH.

The association between the risks for alcoholism and the risk for obesity is still presently being studied.  They main key is for people to realize that drugs and alcohol are not the only addictions one can have.  Food is a very real addiction.  If you have a family history of any type of addiction and you feel those tendencies as well seek professional help.


Study: Drinking Alcohol Associated With Obesity:

Risk of Alcoholism Linked To Risk For Obesity: http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/21680.aspx

Alcohol and Obesity:

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