Prevalence of binge and loss of control eating among children and adolescents with overweight and obesity: An exploratory meta-analysis

Int J Eat Disord. 2017 Feb;50(2):91-103. doi: 10.1002/eat.22661. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Objective: Due to the inconsistency of the research findings in the current literature, the prevalence of binge and loss of control (LOC) eating among children and adolescents with overweight and obesity remains unclear. By using the meta-analytic approach, this article aimed at exploring the prevalence of binge/LOC eating among children and adolescents with overweight and obesity, and at identifying potential moderators, which may have contributed to the heterogeneity of the existing research findings.

Method: Four electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCOhost, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global) were searched. The search period covered the research literature up to April 2016. A random-effects meta-analysis model was used to estimate the overall prevalence. Weighted random-effects model ANOVAs and univariate random-effects meta-regression were applied for the analysis of categorical moderators and continuous moderators, respectively.

Results: Thirty-six studies were identified. The overall prevalence of binge/LOC eating was estimated to be 26.3% (95% CI: 23.1-29.7%), with 22.2% (95% CI: 18.6-26.3%) and 31.2% (95% CI: 26.1-36.9%) for binge eating and LOC eating, respectively. Treatment status, binge eating vs. LOC eating and assessment methods appeared to be associated with the inconsistencies of the prevalence rates across the studies.

Discussion: The findings of this meta-analysis indicated that binge/LOC eating was prevalent among more than one quarter of children and adolescents with overweight and obesity. Considering the close relationship between disordered eating behaviors and obesity, future research concerning overweight and obesity among children and adolescents needs to take binge/LOC eating into consideration. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2017; 50:91-103).

Keywords: adolescents; binge eating; children; loss of control eating; meta-analysis; obese; overweight; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / complications*
  • Bulimia / complications
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / complications*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence