Who hasn’t done binge-eating at least once in their lifetime? At times when I am feeling stressed, I run down to the kitchen and stare at my fridge long and hard until I find something, anything, that I can eat. We all do it and now so does Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, has been reportedly gaining a steady amount of weight within the past four years of his reign. Not a man of a slender physique by any means, yet the sudden jump from 90Kg to 120Kg (198 lbs to 264 lbs) has caused his followers to be quite alarmed. His development of this binge-eating disorder has been attributed to the stress of his work as well as the paranoia and insomnia he has developed within the past years, according to various sources.

‘He keeps a close tab on any potential threats to his power, including the military, and he is obsessed with ensuring his personal safety.’

According to a study released by Harvard Health, there is a correlation between stress and eating. The American Psychological Association states that stress can have two different kinds of effects on a person’s body. If the stress is short termed, the immediate response of the brain is to shut off appetite. The hypothalamus produces a corticotropin-releasing hormone that stops us from feeling hunger. Furthermore, brain sends messages to kidney to release another hormone called epinephrine. This hormone plays an important role in our body’s flight or fight response, which as a result causes us to suppress our need to eat. However, if the stress has been present for a long time, the effect of stress on our body is altered. Our adrenal glands release cortisol, a hormone that has been linked with increasing our motivation to eat. However, this motivation only remains as long as cortisol is released. Once the stress has alleviated, cortisol levels drop and our appetite ends as well. But if the stress is long term, cortisol remains in the system and we, in response, always feel the need to eat, ergo binge-eating.

Lee Cheol-Woo was reported saying, “Because of his habitual binge eating and drinking, he is likely to develop adult diseases.” Not a far off statement to make. The strain of his job and his constant paranoia of being assassinated has caused him to remain in a continuous state of stress, which as we now know, leads a person straight to the kitchen.

If he leaves the stress behind, he will not only manage to fight the binge eating but also help the rest of the world to calm down too.