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Int J Eat Disord. 2019 Feb;52(2):159-165. doi: 10.1002/eat.23003. Epub 2019 Jan 28.

Examining physical activity and correlates in adults with healthy weight, overweight/obesity, or binge-eating disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.



To examine physical activity and correlates among three subgroups of adults: healthy weight without binge eating (HW), overweight/obesity without binge eating (OW/OB), and core features of binge-eating disorder (BED).


Participants (N = 2,384) completed an online survey with established measures of physical activity, eating psychopathology, and health. Most participants were White (82.6%) women (66.7%). Participants were categorized into three study groups: HW (n = 948; 39.9%), OW/OB (n = 1,308; 55.1%), and BED (n = 120; 5.1%).


The BED group had the highest proportion of self-reported insufficiently active individuals (63.8%), followed by OW/OB (41.7%), and HW (29.2%). Associations between self-reported physical activity, eating pathology, and health were generally small in HW and OW/OB groups, whereas associations were moderate in the BED group. Self-reported weekly bouts of physical activity were more strongly, positively related to self-reported physical health for OW/OB than HW, and this effect was even more pronounced for BED compared with HW or OW/OB.


This is the first study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a stronger association between self-reported physical activity and physical health for individuals with BED compared with OW/OB alone. The high rate of physical inactivity and the strong association between physical activity and health among participants with BED suggest physical activity as an important treatment target for individuals with BED.


binge-eating; obesity; physical activity


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