Binge eating disorder and obesity in 2003: Could treating an eating disorder have a positive effect on the obesity epidemic?


  • Susan Z. Yanovski

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland
    • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 6707 Democracy Blvd, Room 665, Bethesda, MD 20892-5450
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between binge eating disorder (BED) and obesity.


Recent literature relating to the etiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, and treatment of binge eating disorder was reviewed.


The data suggest that binge eating may be a contributor to the development of obesity in susceptible individuals. Although eating disorders treatment in the absence of obesity treatment does not result in large weight losses, amelioration of binge eating does result in small weight losses and decreased weight regain over time.


Our challenge in the future is to understand better the ways in which BED and obesity co-exist, and to find treatment strategies that will relieve the distress and dysfunction due to this disordered eating while enhancing appropriate weight loss or preventing further weight gain. Published 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 34: S117–S120, 2003.