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Eating facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Woman Eating Croissant
A woman eating her food

Eating is taking in food to get energy, nutrients or for enjoyment. People and animals need to eat because they cannot make their own food inside their bodies like plants.

Role of the brain

The brain stem can control food intake, because it contains neural circuits that detect hunger and satiety signals from other parts of the body.

There are two peptides in the hypothalamus that produce hunger, melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) and orexin. MCH plays a bigger role in producing hunger.

Satiety in the hypothalamus is stimulated by leptin. Leptin targets the receptors on the arcuate nucleus and suppresses the secretion of MCH and orexin.

Eating positions

Eating positions vary according to the different regions of the world, as culture influences the way people eat their meals. For example, most of the Middle Eastern countries, eating while sitting on the floor is most common, and it is believed to be healthier than eating while sitting to a table.

Eating in a reclining position was favored by the Ancient Greeks at a celebration they called a symposium, and this custom was adopted by the Ancient Romans. Ancient Hebrews also adopted this posture for traditional celebrations of Passover.

Compulsive overeating

Compulsive overeating, or emotional eating, is "the tendency to eat in response to negative emotions".

Many laboratory studies showed that overweight individuals are more emotionally reactive and are more likely to overeat when distressed than people of normal weight. Furthermore, it was consistently found that obese individuals experience negative emotions more frequently and more intensively than do normal weight persons.


Physiologically, eating is generally triggered by hunger, but there are numerous physical and psychological conditions that can affect appetite and disrupt normal eating patterns. These include depression, food allergies, ingestion of certain chemicals, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, pituitary gland malfunction and other endocrine problems, and numerous other illnesses and eating disorders.

In anorexia nervosa, people restrict their calorie intake out of fear of gaining weight. This malnutrition leads to an unhealthy weight, significantly impacting overall health. Bulimia is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, involving the consumption of a substantial amount of food within a short period. Subsequently, individuals engage in maladaptive behaviors, such as inducing vomiting, excessive physical activity, and using laxatives as compensatory measures.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Alimentación para niños

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