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Eat Weight Disord. 1997 Sep;2(3):117-24.

Prevalence of binge eating disorder in obese adults seeking weight loss treatment.

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Louisiana State University, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.


Binge eating has been identified as a common problem in samples of obese persons. Earlier studies found that approximately 30% of participants presenting for weight loss treatment could be diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). This study investigated the prevalence of BED using the Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns (QEWP) and the Interview for the Diagnosis of Eating Disorders (IDED) in a sample of 468 obese adults seeking weight loss treatment at two research facilities. The study found that only a small percentage of the participants met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 4th Revision (DSM-IV) diagnostic criteria for BED using either the IDED (1.3%) or QEWP (7.3%). A larger percentage of the sample (10.7% based on the IDED and 20.5% based on the QEWP) reported binge eating, but did not endorse all criteria necessary to warrant a diagnosis of BED. The primary finding of the study was that the prevalence of BED in treatment seeking obese adults was much lower than was reported in previous studies. Also, there was significant discrepancy in prevalence rates of BED as defined by self-report and interview assessment methods, with the interview method yielding lower estimates of prevalence. These findings suggest that the prevalence of BED may be lower than estimates of earlier reports. We recommend that future studies of BED use reliable and valid interview methods and that this research focus on more diverse populations, including men and a variety of racial and ethnic groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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