Exercise augments the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of binge eating

Int J Eat Disord. 2002 Mar;31(2):172-84. doi: 10.1002/eat.10010.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of adding exercise and maintenance to cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for binge eating disorder (BED) in obese women.

Method: One hundred fourteen obese female binge eaters were randomized into four groups: CBT with exercise and maintenance, CBT with exercise, CBT with maintenance, and CBT only.

Results and discussion: Eighty-four women completed the 16-month study. Subjects who received CBT with exercise experienced significant reductions in binge eating frequency compared with subjects who received CBT only. The CBT with exercise and maintenance group had a 58% abstinence rate at the end of the study period and an average reduction of 2.2 body mass index (BMI) units (approximately 14 lb). BMI was significantly reduced in the subjects in both the exercise and maintenance conditions. The results suggest that adding exercise to CBT, and extending the duration of treatment, enhances outcome and contributes to reductions in binge eating and BMI.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia / complications
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Group