Stomach pains and eating disorders and post-Olympic blues.


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The risk of a teenager developing an eating disorder appears to increase if they had tummy pains in childhood, according to new research from the University of Oxford. Data from families in the Bristol area who took part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children helped to identify children who had abdominal pains as well as teenagers who went on to fast to lose weight aged 16. In the International Journal of Eating Disorders, Dr Kate Stein says there is an association between tummy pains aged 7 and 9 and an increased risk of developing anorexia. The paediatric psychiatrist believes that stomach pains or even normal gut sensations can lead a child to fear food, sometimes avoiding it altogether. Researchers in Sweden have created an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme which Dr Stein hopes could be adapted and brought to the UK to help children who would otherwise have to wait a long time for support. Athletes coming back from competing can experience the slump that’s been called the post-Olympic Blues. Even gold medallists aren’t immune to feeling lost or depressed after they return home and some have been known to try to deal with their feelings by partying hard instead of seeking psychological support. New research carried out by bronze medal winning pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw has shown that athletes would rather talk to former-Olympians than sports psychologists about any difficulties they’ve been having. Co-author Karen Howells, a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, was surprised that the athletes preferred to open up to a former Olympian – but says that experts like her could provide training and support to those mentors. Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at the Open University Mathijs Lucassen who's a co-author on the post-Olympic blues study likens the aftermath of a Games to the period after a wedding, following months of planning, emotional and financial investment. Mathijs also discusses with Claudia a study which looked at the impact that ready-prepared food kits can have on family meals in Australia and how sweet snacks might reduce our enjoyment of music.

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