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Int J Eat Disord. 2009 Dec;42(8):687-705. doi: 10.1002/eat.20719.

The validity and clinical utility of binge eating disorder.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 120 8th Street South, P.O. Box 1415, Fargo, North Dakota 58107-1415, USA.



This review attempted to examine the validity and clinical utility of the DSM-IV binge eating disorder (BED) diagnosis across a wide range of validating strategies.


Various electronic databases (Pub Med, Psych Info) were searched for terms relevant to the diagnosis of BED (e.g., binge eating disorder, binge eating) in order to identify papers. Additionally, published papers were reviewed in order to locate additional manuscripts and papers that were presented at meetings.


The validity and utility of BED varied substantially according to the validator chosen. There is reasonable evidence that BED can be differentiated from other existing eating disorders and is associated with significant impairment and clinical levels of eating disorder psychopathology. The relationship of BED to obesity is complex, and in spite of some positive findings, further research examining the predictive power of BED, beyond the simple presence of obesity and associated psychopathology, in relationship to clinically relevant outcomes is needed.


Binge eating disorder is being considered for inclusion in the DSM-V and various options regarding this decision are reviewed based upon the empirical findings in the paper.

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