Primary Care Provider Familiarity with Binge Eating Disorder and Implications for Obesity Management: A Preliminary Survey

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Current guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of obesity recommend referring individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) to a mental health professional. However, it is unclear how familiar primary care providers are with BED. The purpose of this study was to assess providers' familiarity with BED diagnosis and treatment. Providers in two primary care clinics completed a questionnaire, which assessed perceived familiarity with BED and demonstrated familiarity with BED diagnosis and treatment. Results indicated that 61% of respondents demonstrated familiarity with the essential symptoms of BED, and 80% reported familiarity with the diagnosis of BED. However, 35% of respondents who perceived themselves as familiar with BED did not demonstrate familiarity with the most basic symptoms. These results demonstrate that while many providers in primary care are familiar with BED, steps to improve provider familiarity with the disorder and provide appropriate mechanisms to address BED are warranted.