Objective: To assess whether genetic and environmental effects on liability to binge-eating (BE) are of equal importance for males and females and whether the same genetic risk factors predispose to BE in the two sexes.
Method: Questionnaire data on 8045 same sex and opposite sex twins, aged 19–31 years, from a population-based Norwegian registry, was used to estimate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to liability for BE utilizing structural equation modeling.
Results: In the best-fitting model, the magnitude of genetic and environmental effects on BE was the same for males and females. Heritability was 51%. The correlation between genetic risk factors in men and women was estimated to be +0.57.
Conclusion: Binge-eating appears to be equally heritable in males and females. Although the majority of the genetic risk factors are shared between the sexes, there may exist gender-specific genetic effects on liability.