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Keywords:

  • binge eating;
  • DSM-5

Abstract

Objective:

We assessed the impact of reducing the binge eating frequency and duration thresholds on the diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED).

Method:

We estimated the lifetime population prevalence of BN and BED in 13,295 female twins from the Swedish Twin study of Adults: Genes and Environment employing a range of frequency and duration thresholds. External validation (risk to cotwin) was used to investigate empirical evidence for an optimal binge eating frequency threshold.

Results:

The lifetime prevalence estimates of BN and BED increased linearly as the frequency criterion decreased. As the required duration increased, the prevalence of BED decreased slightly. Discontinuity in cotwin risk was observed in BN between at least four times per month and at least five times per month. This model could not be fit for BED.

Discussion:

The proposed changes to the DSM-5 binge eating frequency and duration criteria would allow for better detection of binge eating pathology without resulting in a markedly higher lifetime prevalence of BN or BED. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)