Binge Eating

How binge eating disorder impacts people’s lives

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that occur at least once per week for three months. An episode of binge eating is defined as eating an abnormally large amount of food in a discrete period of time. This is typically accompanied by a sense of lack of control.  

Binge eating must be characterized by marked distress and at least three of the following: eating more rapidly than normal; eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry; eating alone because of embarrassment and feeling disgusted, guilty or depressed afterwards. The lifetime prevalence of BED among adult women and men in the United States is 3.6% and 2.1%, respectively.2,3

BED typically begins in adolescence or young adulthood but can also start later.4 BED can lead to a number of psychological and physical problems, such as social isolation, feeling bad about oneself, problems functioning at work, obesity and related medical conditions (e.g., gastroesophageal reflux disease, joint problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some sleep-related breathing disorders).5 It is also associated with increased health care utilization, medical morbidity and mortality.6

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About BED

  • 3.6% of U.S. women diagnosed with BED2
  • 2.1% of U.S. men diagnosed with BED3
  • 3 months of binge eating episodes ≥ 1x week characterize BED7