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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • binge eating disorder;
  • age of onset;
  • dieting;
  • prevention;
  • etiology

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the self-reported sequence and timing of onset of overweight, binge eating, and dieting in adult patients diagnosed with binge eating disorder (BED).

Method:

Participants were 284 treatment-seeking adults (73 men and 211 women) who met DSM-IV research criteria for BED. Patients were interviewed with structured diagnostic interviews and were queried regarding history of overweight, dieting, and binge eating behaviors. Questionnaires were also administered to assess current eating disturbances, body dissatisfaction, and general functioning. Participants were classified as Overweight First, Binge First, or Diet First, and the three groups were compared on developmental sequence and using the battery of measures.

Results:

Sixty-three percent of the 284 participants reported becoming overweight prior to the onset of dieting or binge eating. Participants who reported they were overweight first had significantly greater BMI at the time of assessment. The 16% of the participants who reported binge eating first were significantly younger at the onset of BED diagnosis and reported significantly less dietary restraint. Onset order differed significantly by gender; proportionally more women (25%) than men (11%) reported that dieting preceded overweight or binge eating.

Conclusion:

Weight problems preceded dieting and binge eating behaviors for a majority of treatment-seeking overweight participants diagnosed with BED. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006