Pediatric loss of control eating syndrome: Association with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and impulsivity

Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Sep;48(6):580-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.22404. Epub 2015 Apr 9.


Objective: Despite data linking Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and adult binge eating, there are limited data in children with loss of control (LOC) eating. We examined inhibitory control in children with LOC eating syndrome (LOC-ES) and its association with ADHD.

Method: 79 children (8-14 years) over the fifth weight percentile were recruited, irrespective of LOC eating or ADHD status. The Eating Disorder Examination for Children and the Standard Pediatric Eating Episode Interview assessed LOC-ES. ADHD diagnosis was determined by the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for children and Conners-3 (Parent Report) DSM-IV Scales of Inattention and/or Hyperactivity (T score > 65). The Go/No-Go (GNG) Task and the Behavior Regulation Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) assessed impulse control.

Results: Odds of LOC-ES were increased 12 times for children with ADHD (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 12.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.11, 51.64, p < 0.001), after adjusting for BMI z scores and relevant covariates. Children had 1.17 times higher odds of reporting LOC-ES with every 5% increase in GNG Commission Rate (aOR = 1.17, CI = 1.01, 1.36, p < 0.05) and 1.25 times higher odds of reporting LOC-ES with every 5 unit T-score increase in BRIEF Inhibit Scale (aOR = 1.25, CI = 1.04, 1.50, p < 0.05).

Discussion: Children with ADHD had significantly greater odds of LOC-ES compared to children without ADHD. Children with LOC-ES had significantly greater impulse control deficits on performance-based neuropsychological assessments and on parent reports than children without LOC-ES. These findings suggest a need to investigate possible shared mechanisms such as impulse control deficits, among children with LOC-ES and ADHD.

Keywords: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; binge eating; eating disorder; impulsivity; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / etiology*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / psychology