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Keywords:

  • binge eating disorder;
  • elderly;
  • life span;
  • overeating

Abstract

Objective:

To preliminarily describe the clinical features of elderly individuals with binge eating disorder (BED).

Method:

The psychological and general medical characteristics of 20 elderly individuals (65 years of age and older) who met DSM-IV-TR for BED were systematically evaluated.

Results:

Elderly individuals with BED reported an average (SD) of 4.5 (2.9) binge eating episodes per week. Weight and shape concerns were of significant importance for participants' schema for self-evaluation. Mood disorders were the most frequent co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Despite having a mean (SD) body mass index of 36.4 (10.6), most participants presented in good general medical health.

Discussion:

Regarding eating pathology, psychiatric comorbidity, and associated obesity, BED in this group of elderly individuals was similar to BED in younger adults. However, other than presenting with obesity, the participants reported good general medical health. BED might be a problem for a subset of physically healthy elderly individuals. Studies further examining psychiatric and medical presentation, including metabolic profile, of elderly individuals with BED may be warranted. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012;45:905–908)