Study Finds That Partner Violence Affects Nutrition, Health, and Obesity

When I read a new study published by the University of Houston Texas Research Center (TORC), that says depression is the link between “intimate partner violence” and subsequent problems with food, my first reaction was, duh. (In case you’re not familiar with that informal declaration, here’s the definition: used to comment on a statement perceived as obvious.)

Of course, a woman who is physically or mentally abused by her romantic partner is not going to put healthy nutrition at the top of her list.

The other major finding, that women who are victims of their partner’s violence are depressed, elicited a similar response of, duh.

Not only would abused women feel depressed, but also they likely feel worthless and hopeless, and thus don’t care about eating well-balanced meals or choosing nutritious foods. Perhaps they are focused on escaping their dreadful situation, or are obsessing about how/why they got involved with their abuser in the first place. Certainly, making sure that their family has the right balance of fruits, vegetables, and proteins are not top of mind.

Another possible reason for an abused woman to shun what the study calls “food-secure households” is low self-esteem. They may feel they don’t deserve to feed their body healthy foods, or they despise their beaten body, or that eating junk food is a way to self-soothe. Also, why take pride in yourself, or make yourself attractive for an abusive partner?

Having said all of that, there were outcomes of the TORC study that I find worth repeating. “Targeting issues central to women’s health must become a priority in combating food insecurity,” says Daphne Hernandez, assistant professor and lead researcher. “Providing mental health screenings at the time individuals apply for food assistance may help identify women who need interventions to keep them safe, mentally healthy, and food secure.”

I second that.

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~ by ppdsus on November 7, 2013.

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