Binge eaters need more emotional help, says Norwich-based charity

Beat chief executive Susan Ringwood at the charity's Norwich headquarters. Photo: Bill Smith

Beat chief executive Susan Ringwood at the charity's Norwich headquarters. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Bosses from a Norwich-based charity have called for more psychological support to be given to people who binge eat after a survey of overeaters revealed that more than half suffered from depression.

The chief executive of eating disorder charity Beat said more emotional support needed to be given to people with emotional overeating issues and greater awareness needed to be raised into the issue following the results of a questionnaire.

More than 1,000 people across the UK responded to the survey, with 88% of respondents saying that their problems with food were related to emotional problems, 79% felt under pressure from society to lose weight, and 53% said they suffered from depression.

The survey by the national charity, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, also revealed that 73% of those questioned said they went to see their GP and their emotional health was not investigated.

Officials from Beat said they would be launching online support groups next week, in addition to Emotional Overeating Support Groups in the East of England, which have been funded by the Department of Health.

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The groups provide an open and non-judgemental space for peer support between adults who either binge eat, compulsively overeat, feel they have emotional eating issues or are overweight, obese or struggling with their weight.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the national charity, said more needed to be done to tackle the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding emotional overeating issues.

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'We need to raise greater awareness that people with emotional issues around food need psychological support.'

'There is a significant proportion of those people who are overweight and who have an emotionally unhealthy relationship with food. They may need skilled psychological and emotional support to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight and shape. It is this skilled support that is lacking. Being told to eat less and exercise more isn't an adequate answer. This survey demonstrates only too clearly that people struggling to overcome their overweight need better help and understanding – both from healthcare professionals and society in general.'

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