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Int J Eat Disord. 2018 May;51(5):411-417. doi: 10.1002/eat.22847. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Comparing men and women with binge-eating disorder and co-morbid obesity.

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Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, 06519.
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 06511.



This study examined differences in clinical presentation of men and women with binge-eating disorder (BED) who participated in treatment research at a medical-school based program.


Participants were 682 adults (n = 182 men, n = 500 women) with DSM-IV-defined BED. Doctoral-level research clinicians assessed eating-disorder psychopathology, including BED diagnosis, using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders (SCID) and Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) interview. Research clinicians measured height and weight and participants completed a battery of established self-report measures.


Men had significantly higher body mass index (BMI) than women; women had significantly higher eating-disorder psychopathology (EDE scales and global score) and depression than men. Differences in eating-disorder psychopathology and depression remained higher for women than men after adjusting for race/ethnicity and BMI. Frequency of binge-eating episodes, subjective binge-eating episodes, and overeating episodes did not differ significantly by sex. Women had younger ages of onset for dieting and binge-eating behaviors than men but ages of onset for obesity and BED did not significantly differ between men and women.


There are some sex differences in clinical presentation and age-of-onset timeline of adults with BED. Men and women develop obesity and BED (at diagnostic threshold) around the same age but women begin dieting and binge-eating behaviors earlier than men. At presentation for treatment for BED, men and women did not differ in binge-eating frequency and although men and women differed significantly on BMI and eating-disorder psychopathology, the magnitude of these differences was quite modest.


binge-eating disorder; depression; gender; obesity; sex; treatment

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