Perceived discrimination is associated with binge eating in a community sample of non-overweight, overweight, and obese adults

Obes Facts. 2012;5(6):869-80. doi: 10.1159/000345931. Epub 2012 Dec 15.


Objective: The present study examined the relationship between experiences of discrimination and occurrence of binge eating among overweight and obese persons, a population which has previously shown elevated rates of binge eating.

Methods: Internet-based questionnaires were used to measure frequency and impact of discrimination, binge eating frequency, and emotional eating.

Results: Pearson correlation analyses demonstrated significant positive relationships between the measures of discrimination and measures of eating behaviors (r = 0.12-0.37). Regression models significantly predicted between 17 and 33% of the variance of emotional eating scores and frequency of binge eating; discrimination measures contributed significantly and independently to the variance in emotional eating and binge eating. Weight bias internalization was found to be a partial mediator of the relationship between discrimination and eating disturbance.

Conclusion: Results demonstrate the relationship of discrimination to binge eating. Weight bias internalization may be an important mechanism for this relationship and a potential treatment target.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight
  • Perception*
  • Prejudice*
  • Reference Values
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult