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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004 Feb;72(1):53-61.

Eating-disordered behaviors, body fat, and psychopathology in overweight and normal-weight children.

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Unit on Growth & Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institite of Child Health & Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


This study examined eating-disordered pathology in relation to psychopathology and adiposity in 162 non-treatment-seeking overweight (OW) and normal weight (NW) children, ages 6-13 years. Participants experienced objective or subjective binge eating (S/OBE; loss-of-control eating), objective overeating (OO), or no episodes (NE). OW children experienced significantly higher eating-disordered cognitions and behaviors than NW children and more behavior problems than NW children: 9.3% endorsed S/OBEs, 20.4% reported OOs, and 70.4% reported NEs. OW children reported S/OBEs more frequently than did NW children (p =.01), but similar percentages endorsed OOs. S/OBE children experienced greater eating-disordered cognitions (ps from <.05 to <.01) and had higher body fat (p <.05) than OOs or NEs. OOs are common in childhood, but S/OBEs are more prevalent in OW children and associated with increased adiposity and eating-disordered cognitions.

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