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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 May;19(5):982-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.249. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Weight reduction in obese adolescents with and without binge eating.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. bishopc@email.chop.edu


Little is known about binge eating (BE) in adolescents. The primary aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between BE and weight loss in adolescents (BMI ≥95th percentile) enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of behavioral and pharmacologic treatment of obesity. Participants were 82 treatment-seeking adolescents (BMI = 37.9 ± 3.8 kg/m(2); age = 14.1 ± 1.2 years; 67% females; 42% African American, 55% white). Participants completed the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), the Piers Harris Self-Esteem Questionnaire, and the Eating Inventory (including cognitive restraint, disinhibition, and hunger scales). BE was assessed by a questionnaire and a confirmatory interview. At baseline, 24% of participants met criteria for BE (N = 13 met full BE disorder (BED) criteria; N = 7 met subthreshold BE). There were no significant differences in percentage reduction in initial BMI between participants with or without BE at month 6 (-7.0 ± 1.6 vs. -6.9 ± 0.9%) or month 12 (-8.8 ± 2.4 vs. -8.3 ± 1.3%) (omnibus main effect BE P = 0.89, interaction BE × time P = 0.84, interaction BE × drug P = 0.61). The rate of BE declined significantly over time from 24% (n = 20) at baseline to 8% (n = 6) at month 6 and 3% (n = 2) at month 12 (P = 0.003). There were significant decreases in hunger and disinhibition as well as an increase in cognitive restraint over time (all P ≤ 0.0001). Findings suggest a combination of behavioral and pharmacologic therapy may produce both weight loss and improvement in BE.

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