This study investigated differences between overweight binge eating women who reported the onset of binge eating prior to or following the onset of dieting (binged first [BF], or dieted first [DF]). Of overweight binge eating subjects enrolled in a treatment study, 38.7% indicated binge eating first, and 48.1% dieting first. The mean age of onset of binge eating differed significantly between the two groups (11.8 years vs. 25.7 years). More of the BF group (82.5%) satisfied proposed binge eating disorder (BED) criteria than did the DF group (52.0%), although short of significantly. The results suggest that: (a) the leading hypothesis concerning dieting as a cause of binge eating does not apply to a substantial number of individuals who binge eat; (b) there may be an early pattern and a late pattern in the development of binge eating among overweight individuals; and (c) the early or binge first pattern may be more likely to result in BED.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments—This research was supported in part by an Eating Disorders Center grant from the McKnight Foundation, the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, and the NIH Obesity Research Center (No. DK50456). Dr. Abbott was supported in this project by a National Institutes of Drug Abuse research training grant (No. 5 T32 DA07097).
- Binge eating