Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 227-232

First online:

Prevalence of binge eating disorder, obesity, and depression in a biracial cohort of young adults

  • Delia E. SmithAffiliated withBehavioral Medicine Unit, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • , Marsha D. MarcusAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Cora E. LewisAffiliated withBehavioral Medicine Unit, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • , Marian FitzgibbonAffiliated withNorthwestern University
  • , Pamela SchreinerAffiliated withUniversity of Minnesota

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This article examined the prevalence of binge eating disorder (BED), obesity, and depressive symptomatology in a biracial, population-based cohort of men and women participating in a longitudinal study of cardiovascular risk factor development. The Revised Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns was used to establish BED status among the 3,948 (55% women, 48% Black) participants (age 28–40 years). Body mass index (BMI: kg/m2) was used to define overweight (BMI>-27.3 in women and ≥27.8 in men). Depressive symptomatology was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Study Depression Scale. Prevalence of BED was 1.5% in the cohort overall, with similar rates among Black women, White women, and White men. Black men had substantially lower BED rates. Depressive symptomatology was markedly higher among individuals with BED. Among overweight participants, BED prevalence (2.9%) was almost double that of the overall cohort. There were no differences in BED rates between overweight Black and White women. Thus, BED was common in the general population, with comparable rates among Black women, White women, and White men, but low rates among Black men. Obesity was associated with substantially higher prevalence of BED. Treatment studies that target obese men and minority women with BED are indicated.