Metabolic characteristics of youth with loss of control eating

Eat Behav. 2015 Dec;19:86-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 18.


Purpose: Preliminary data in adults suggest that binge eating is associated with greater prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) components. However, there are limited data in youth, and little is known of the role of binge episode size in these relationships.

Methods: We examined the relationship between loss of control eating and metabolic characteristics in a convenience sample of 329 treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking adolescent boys and girls. The sample was enriched by design with adolescents who were overweight or obese and with individuals who reported episodes of loss of control over their eating (either objectively large binge episodes, OBEs or subjectively large binge episodes, SBEs, in the past month), as assessed by clinical interview. MetS components (blood pressure, lipids, glucose, and waist circumference) were the primary variables of interest.

Results: 46% of the cohort reported loss of control eating; among those, 53% reported SBEs only and 47% reported OBEs. Youth with loss of control eating had higher systolic blood pressure (p=.001) and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) (p=.002) compared to those without loss of control eating, in analyses adjusted for intervention-seeking status, fat mass and sociodemographic characteristics. Youth reporting OBEs had higher LDL-c (p=.013) compared to those reporting only SBEs.

Conclusions: Adolescents reporting loss of control episodes had greater dysfunction in some components of the MetS compared to youth without loss of control; episode size may contribute to metabolic dysfunction.

Trial registration: NCT00001195 NCT00001522 NCT00001723 NCT00263536 NCT00631644 NCT00680979 NCT01425905.

Keywords: Adolescence; Binge eating; Loss of control eating; Metabolic dysfunction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Bulimia / epidemiology*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Self-Control / psychology*


  • Cholesterol, LDL

Associated data