Prevalence of binge eating disorder, obesity, and depression in a biracial cohort of young adults

Delia E. Smith, Marsha D. Marcus, Cora E. Lewis, Marian Fitzgibbon, Pamela Schreiner

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This article examined the prevalence of binge eating disorder (BED), obesity, and depressive symptomatology in a biracial, population-based cohort of men and women participating in a longitudinal study of cardiovascular risk factor development. The Revised Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns was used to establish BED status among the 3,948 (55% women, 48% Black) participants (age 28-40 years). Body mass index (BMI: kg/m2) was used to define overweight (BMI ≥ 27.3 in women and ≥27.8 in men). Depressive symptomatology was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Study Depression Scale. Prevalence of BED was 1.5% in the cohort overall, with similar rates among Black women, White women, and White men. Black men had substantially lower BED rates. Depressive symptomatology was markedly higher among individuals with BED. Among overweight participants, BED prevalence (2.9%) was almost double that of the overall cohort. There were no differences in BED rates between overweight Black and White women. Thus, BED was common in the general population, with comparable rates among Black women, White women, and White men, but low rates among Black men. Obesity was associated with substantially higher prevalence of BED. Treatment studies that target obese men and minority women with BED are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
INTRODUCTION Binge eating disorder (BED) is a provisional eating disorder diagnosis (1) characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that occur in the absence of inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as purging. High rates of BED have been observed among overweight individuals presenting at university-based weight con- 1 Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts N01-HC-48047, N01-HC-48048, N01-HC-48049, N01-HC-48050, and N01-HC-95095.


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