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Abstract

Objective:

Despite the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US military veterans, binge eating has not been examined in this population.

Design and Methods:

Using a secondary data analysis approach, the prevalence and correlates of self-reported binge eating among 45,477 overweight or obese veterans receiving care in Veterans Health Administration facilities were examined. Participants completed a 23-item survey that assessed demographics, weight history, physical and mental health comorbidities, and eating habits during routine medical clinic visits. χ2 and logistic regression were used to examine the relationships among binge eating and demographic variables and medical and psychiatric comorbidities.

Results:

Nearly, three-quarters of the sample reported clinically meaningful binge eating (i.e., two or more times per week). Binge-eaters were more likely to report higher body mass index, depression, anxiety, and type 2 diabetes (P <0.0001). After controlling for potentially confounding variables, male veterans were significantly more likely to report clinically meaningful binge eating than female veterans (P < 0.001).

Conclusion:

These results have important implications for modifying weight management programs and highlight the need for the assessment and treatment to address binge eating, particularly among men and patients with type 2 diabetes.