Get access

Binge eating disorder psychopathology in normal weight and obese individuals




Although Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is associated with obesity and unstable weight and the diagnosis was originally predicated with the obese in mind, obesity is not a criterion for BED. In fact, BED is not uncommon in nonobese individuals. The aim of this study was to compare the psychopathology of obese (BMI >30) and nonobese individuals (BMI < 30) with BED.


Within a group of 174 individuals diagnosed with BED, 51 (29%) were classified as nonobese and 123 (71%) as obese. The Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were administered to assess eating disorder psychopathology and depressive symptoms.


The nonobese BED group was significantly younger and was less likely to receive treatment. The obese group had more concerns about weight and reported more objective binge eating episodes. No differences were found on any other subscales of the EDE or BDI.


Our main finding was that there are more similarities than differences between the nonobese and obese individuals with BED. The severity of the psychopathology does not seem to be related to BMI. More awareness of the existence of nonobese individuals with BED is needed. Early detection and treatment may prevent the development of overweight and it's consequences. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)