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For Many, Stress Leads to Overeating

Thursday, 16 Dec 2010 07:59 AM

Feeling stressed this holiday season? Are you overeating because of it? If so, you have company.

Forty percent of adults responding to a survey said they had overeaten or had eaten unhealthy foods during the past month because of stress, the American Psychological Association reports.

The APA 2010 Stress in America survey also revealed that respondents believed they didn’t have the time or willpower to make the behavior and lifestyle changes that would enable them to deal with stress in healthier ways.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive last August, also found the same behavior among children, and that kids are more aware of their parents’ stress levels than adults realize. Twenty-seven percent of overweight children reported overeating to feel better when stressed, the survey found. Also, 91 percent of children reported knowing when their parents are stressed, while 69 percent of parents said their stress level has a slight or no impact on their children.

Children who said their parents always feel stressed were more likely to report experiencing a great deal of stress themselves, compared with children who said their parents were never stressed — 17 percent vs. 2 percent.

“Children model their parents' behaviors, including those related to managing stress,” the APA said in a statement released with the survey results. “Parents who deal with holiday stress in unhealthy ways by overeating or drinking to excess risk passing those behaviors on to their children.”

The same can be said for parents who exhibit healthy stress-management practices — children will learn them from their parents, the APA said.

“By taking small, manageable steps to a healthier lifestyle, families can establish and work toward goals to be psychologically and physically fit this holiday season and throughout the year,” the APA said.

For stress-management tips, visit the APA Help Center.


© HealthDay

   
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