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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013 Nov-Dec;35(6):587-91. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Sex differences in biopsychosocial correlates of binge eating disorder: a study of treatment-seeking obese adults in primary care setting.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address:



Although community-based studies suggest equivalent levels of physical and psychological impairment by binge eating disorder (BED) in men and women, men with BED are still underrepresented in clinical studies. This study aimed to provide a comprehensive analysis of sex differences in biopsychosocial correlates of treatment-seeking obese patients with BED in primary care.


One hundred-ninety obese adults (26% men) were recruited in primary care settings for a treatment study for obesity and BED.


Very few significant sex differences were found in the developmental history and in current levels of eating disorder features, as well as psychosocial factors. Women reported significantly earlier age at onset of overweight and dieting and greater frequency of dieting. Men reported more frequent strenuous exercise. Men were more likely than women to meet criteria for metabolic syndrome; men were more likely to show clinically elevated levels of triglycerides, blood pressure, and fasting glucose levels.


Despite few sex differences in behavioral and psychosocial factors, metabolic problems associated with obesity were more common among treatment-seeking obese men with BED than women. The findings highlight the importance of including men in clinical studies of BED and active screening of BED in obese men at primary care settings.


Binge eating; Gender; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Sex differences

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