Eating behavior and eating disorders in adults before bariatric surgery

Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Mar;48(2):215-22. doi: 10.1002/eat.22275. Epub 2014 Apr 9.


Objective: To describe eating patterns, prevalence of problematic eating behaviors, and determine factors associated with binge eating disorder (BED), before bariatric surgery.

Method: Before surgery, 2,266 participants (median age 46 years; 78.6% female; 86.9% white; median body mass index 45.9 kg/m(2) ) of the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 (LABS-2) study completed eating behavior survey items in the self-administered LABS-2 Behavior form. Other measures included the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, the LABS-2 Psychiatric and Emotional Test Survey, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List-12, the Short Form-36 Health Survey, and Impact of Weight Quality of Life-Lite Survey.

Results: The majority (92.1%) of participants reported eating dinner regularly, whereas just over half (54.0%) reported eating breakfast regularly. Half of the participants reported eating at least four meals/week at restaurants; two meals/week were fast food. Loss of control eating was reported by 43.4%, night eating syndrome by 17.7%; 15.7% satisfied criteria for binge eating disorder (BED), 2% for bulimia nervosa. Factors that independently increased the odds of BED were being a college graduate, eating more times per day, taking medication for psychiatric or emotional problems, and having symptoms of alcohol use disorder, lower self-esteem and greater depressive symptoms.

Discussion: Before undergoing bariatric surgery a substantial proportion of patients report problematic eating behaviors. Several factors associated with BED were identified, most suggesting other mental health problems, including higher levels of depressive symptomotology. The strengths of this study include the large sample size, the multi-center design and use of standardized assessment practices.

Keywords: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; binge eating; binge eating disorder; evening hyperphagia; laparoscopic gastric banding; night eating syndrome; nocturnal eating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bariatric Surgery / psychology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Personality Inventory
  • Preoperative Period
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept