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Keywords:

  • binge eating disorder;
  • DSM-IV;
  • costs

Abstract

Objective:

To compare health-care utilization between participants who met DSM-IV criteria for binge eating disorder (BED) and those engaged in recurrent binge eating (RBE) and to evaluate whether objective binge eating (OBE) days, a key measurement for diagnosing BED, predicted health-care costs.

Method:

We obtained utilization and cost data from electronic medical records to augment patient reported data for 100 adult female members of a large health maintenance organization who were enrolled in a randomized clinical trial to treat binge eating.

Results:

Total costs did not differ between the BED and RBE groups (β = −0.117, z = −0.48, p = .629), nor did the number of OBE days predict total costs (β = −0.017, z = −1.01, p = .313).

Discussion:

Findings suggest that the medical impairment, as assessed through health care costs, caused by BED may not be greater than impairment caused by RBE. The current threshold number of two OBE days/week as a criterion for BED may need to be reconsidered. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2011