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Keywords:

  • epidemiology;
  • diverse demographic profile;
  • obese patients;
  • binge eating

Abstract

Objective

First described over 50 years ago, binge eating disorder (BED) only recently has become the focus of epidemiologic studies. This article provides a comprehensive review of these studies.

Method

Relevant studies were examined and summarized in the form of a narrative review.

Results

Similar to the early studies of bulimia nervosa (BN), the first generation of epidemiologic studies of BED is limited in scope or methodology. They focus on prevalence rates and provide only basic demographic characteristics and often use less than optimal sampling or assessment methods.

Discussion

Results suggest that the demographic profile of BED may be more diverse than that of BN. Future studies should evaluate complex etiologic models in representative samples that include men and a broader range of ethnic minority groups. © 2003 by Wiley Perodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 34: S19–S29, 2003.