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Keywords:

  • child;
  • adolescent;
  • binge eating;
  • loss of control eating;
  • obesity

Abstract

Objective

The subjective experience of loss of control (LOC) during eating, independent of overeating, may be a salient marker of disordered eating and risk for overweight in youth. However, few studies have directly tested this notion in an adequately powered sample.

Method

Three-hundred-sixty-seven youth (M ± SD age = 12.7 ± 2.8 y) were categorized as reporting objective binge eating (OBE; 12.5%), subjective binge eating (SBE; 11.4%), objective overeating without LOC (OO; 18.5%), or no episodes (NE; 57.5%). Disordered eating attitudes, general psychopathology, and adiposity were assessed.

Results

Children with OBE and SBE generally did not differ in their disordered eating attitudes, emotional eating, eating in the absence of hunger, depressive and anxiety symptoms, or adiposity. However, both OBE and SBE youth had significantly greater disordered eating attitudes, emotional eating, eating in the absence of hunger, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and adiposity compared to those with OO or NE (ps < .05).

Discussion

For non-treatment-seeking youth, LOC during eating episodes, rather than episode size, appears to be the most salient marker of eating and weight problems. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:707–716