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Comparison of Obese and Nonobese Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder: Delicate Boundary Between Binge Eating Disorder and Non-Purging Bulimia Nervosa


Isabelle Carrard, Therapeutic Education Service for Chronic Diseases, Department of Community Medicine, University Hospitals of Geneva, Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, CH – 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland. Tel: +41-22-372-97-01, Fax: +41-22-372-97-10.




To compare obese and nonobese individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) on demographic data, illness history, eating disorders and psychological health.


This study used baseline data from a randomized controlled study on the efficacy of an online cognitive behavioural self-help treatment. Seventy-four women aged between 18 and 60 years were recruited in the community. They had to meet full or subthreshold diagnostic criteria for BED according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.


Forty per cent of the sample had a body mass index higher than 30 kg/m2. Mean age and severity of eating disorders were similar between obese and nonobese individuals. A statistically significant difference emerged regarding dietary restraint, with nonobese BED individuals exhibiting higher scores than obese BED individuals.


Dietary restraint might be one of the factors explaining body mass index differences among BED individuals. This raises the question of the boundary between non-purging bulimia nervosa and BED in nonobese people. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.