The difficulty in defining binge eating in obese women: how it affects prevalence levels in presurgical bariatric patients

Eat Behav. 2015 Apr:17:130-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.01.014. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


Objective: We aim to determine how increasing the specificity of binge eating criteria affects the prevalence of self-reported binge eating among presurgical bariatric patients.

Method: 197 women ages 20 to 65 being assessed for bariatric surgery with a BMI greater than 30kg/m(2) were interviewed and completed the Eating and Exercise Examination.

Results: The prevalence of self-reported binge eating was 55% (n=109). The addition of the criterion 'more than a little loss of control/distress' reduced the rate to 23% (n=45), a minimum of six servings of food reduced the rate to 34% (n=67). The addition of a minimum frequency of twice per week for six months (DSM-VI) reduced the rate to 22% (n=43), or once per week for three months (DSM-5) reduced the rate to 53% (n=104).

Discussion: More precise definitions and diagnostic criteria for binge eating may result in more consistent reports of prevalence levels of BED.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Binge eating; Criteria; Obese; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Bulimia / diagnosis*
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Young Adult