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Health Psychol. 1993 Sep;12(5):342-5.

Obese people who seek treatment have different characteristics than those who do not seek treatment.

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Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Chicago, Illinois 60611.


A group of obese people who had not sought treatment, an obese group who had sought treatment in a professional, hospital-based program, and normal-weight controls (N = 547) were compared in regard to level of psychopathology, binge eating, and negative emotional eating. Because the groups differed significantly on several demographic variables, 3 demographically matched groups were created and compared (n = 177, 59 per group). In the matched subgroups, obese people who had sought treatment reported greater psychopathology and more binge eating than did those who had not sought treatment or did normal-weight controls. Both obese groups (including those who had not sought treatment) endorsed more symptoms of distress, negative emotional eating, overeating, difficulty resisting temptation, and less exercise than did normal-weight controls.

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