Little is known about the phenomenology of pediatric loss of control (LOC) eating. Overvaluation of shape and weight, however, appears to be diagnostically meaningful among binge eating adults. We explored the significance of shape and weight overvaluation among children and adolescents with LOC eating. Participants (n= 526) included 149 overweight youth with LOC eating and 377 overweight controls (CON). Participants were categorized as those reporting at least moderate overvaluation (LOC-Mod, n= 74; CON-Mod, n= 106) or less than moderate overvaluation (LOC-Low, n= 75; CON-Low, n= 271), and compared on measures of eating-related and general psychopathology. LOC-Mod evidenced lower self-esteem than CON-Low, and greater behavioral problems than CON-Mod and CON-Low, but did not differ from LOC-Low in these domains. With the exception of LOC-Low and CON-Mod, all groups differed on global eating-disorder severity, with LOC-Mod scoring the highest. Overvaluation of shape and weight appears to be of questionable importance in defining subtypes of youth with LOC eating. However, as overvaluation and LOC eating each independently predicts eating-disorder onset, their confluence may confer even further risk for eating-disorder development. Longitudinal studies should address this possibility. Developmentally appropriate discussion about body image disturbance may be indicated in interventions targeting pediatric LOC eating and/or obesity.
- Binge eating
- Loss of control
- Overvaluation of shape and weight