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Int J Eat Disord. 2003;34 Suppl:S47-57.

Binge eating in children and adolescents.

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



To establish what is known about binge eating in children and adolescents and to identify unresolved questions.


We reviewed relevant studies to highlight and synthesize salient research findings.


Available research has suggested that loss of control over eating may be more important than consumption of an objectively large amount of food in the assessment of binge eating in children. In addition, dieting may not be associated consistently with binge eating in children. Behavioral correlates of binges may include eating in the absence of hunger, eating in response to strong emotions or external cues, and eating in secret. On the basis of available research, provisional research criteria for binge eating disorder (BED) in children are suggested to stimulate further study of pediatric samples. We emphasize the need for prospective studies on the relationships among aberrant eating, weight and mood, and the inclusion of boys and girls of different ethnicities.

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