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Keywords:

  • night eating;
  • eating disorders;
  • classification

Abstract

Objective:

This article examines the status of the literature on night-eating syndrome (NES) according to five criteria that have been proposed by Blashfield, Sprock, and Fuller1 (Compr Psychiatry 1990;31:15–19) to determine whether NES warrants inclusion in the psychiatric nosology as a distinct eating disorder.

Method:

Relevant research papers were identified in Medline and PsychInfo using the search term “night-eating syndrome.”

Results:

None of the five criteria was met. Specifically, at the time of review, there were not yet 25 empirical papers on NES; no commonly accepted definition of or assessment approach to NES has been adopted; the utility and validity of NES need to be established, and NES needs to be differentiated more clearly from other eating disorder syndromes.

Conclusion:

This review suggests that the most pressing step toward clarifying the status of NES is to develop a uniform definition of NES. Once accomplished, research can progress to accumulating the necessary evidence to determine whether NES should be included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006