Disordered eating in adulthood is associated with reported weight loss attempts in childhood




To determine whether history of attempted weight loss in childhood (age ≤12 years) is associated with binge eating disorder (BED) and unhealthy weight loss behaviors in adults.


Cross-sectional analysis from baseline visit data of 588 participants of a clinical trial. Data were collected from survey answers on health status, nutritional status, weight loss history, and weight loss behaviors.


History of childhood weight loss attempts was associated with high odds of BED in adults (odds ratio [OR] 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.8–6.3) and high odds of unhealthy weight loss behaviors (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.2, 2.6). A linear trend was observed in which young age at first attempted weight loss was associated with increased odds of both BED and unhealthy weight loss behaviors.


Weight loss attempts in childhood may be a risk factor for the development of unhealthy eating behaviors and BED in adults. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010;)