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Int J Eat Disord. 2004 Mar;35(2):217-22.

Night eating syndrome among nonobese persons.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To compare the characteristics of obese persons with the night eating syndrome (NES) with those of nonobese persons with the NES.


Eighty subjects (40 with a body mass index [BMI] greater than 30 and 40 with a BMI less than 25) identified themselves on a website for the Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ) as suffering from the NES. The responses of the 40 obese website subjects were compared with 21 obese persons with the NES who had undergone face-to-face interviews. The responses on the NEQ of the 40 obese and the 40 non-obese website subjects were then compared.


There was no difference in the NEQ results of the 40 website obese subjects and 21 obese night eaters who had undergone face-to-face interviews. The responses of these same 40 obese subjects showed very little difference compared with those of the 40 nonobese subjects. The major difference between the two groups was the considerable younger age of the normal-weight NES subjects.


The striking similarity in the characteristics between obese and nonobese subjects with the NES indicates that this disorder, considered until now to occur primarily among obese persons, also occurs among nonobese persons. The younger age of the nonobese subjects suggests that the NES may contribute to the development of obesity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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