Why no cognitive body image feature such as overvaluation of shape/weight in the binge eating disorder diagnosis?


  • Carlos M. Grilo PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    2. Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
    • Carlos M. Grilo, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 2nd Floor, 301 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06519
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  • Financial Disclosure: Dr. Grilo reports that he receives royalties from Guilford Press and Taylor and Francis Books (for academic books). The author reports no conflicts of interest or any competing interests. The funding agency (NIH) had no role in the preparation or the content of this paper. No additional compensation was provided for the completion of this work.

  • Supported by K24 DK070052 from the National Institutes of Health.



Undue influence of body shape or weight on self-evaluation—referred to as overvaluation—is considered a core feature across eating disorders, but is not a diagnostic requirement for binge eating disorder (BED). This article addresses the relevance of a feature reflecting disturbance in body image for the diagnosis of BED.


The distinction between overvaluation of shape/weight and body dissatisfaction is discussed, and empirical research regarding the concurrent and predictive significance of overvaluation of shape/weight for BED is reviewed.


The literature suggests that overvaluation does not simply reflect concern or distress commensurate with excess weight, is reliably associated with greater severity of eating-related psychopathology and psychological distress, and has reliably shown negative prognostic significance.


Overvaluation of shape/weight warrants consideration as a diagnostic specifier for BED. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)