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Information and Statistics - Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder was proposed in 1994 as a new diagnostic criterion.  It has not yet been officially added but is widely researched. It is estimated to affect around 3% of adults.  However rates may be much higher - in this country 3/4 of men and 2/3 of women will be obese by 2010 if current trends continue.  Studies suggest that around 1/3 of these people - although some studies suggest more than 1/2 - actually have some form of underlying Binge Eating Disorder.  For example rates of 70% have been found in people attending overeaters anonymous - though this may be partly biased, as we do know that obese people with Binge Eating Disorder suffer more psychological distress and are more likely to seek help than people without Binge Eating Disorder.  A recent study commented that 'clinical evidence with obese people suggests the presence of a substantial psychological burden' (Ramacciotti et al, 2008, pub in IJED).  Certainly it is believed that many more people may have Binge Eating Disorder than either Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. 
People with Binge Eating Disorder differ from those who are 'just' overweight in that they tend to judge themselves much more (or even exclusively) on the basis of their weight, and struggle with their self esteem being over influenced by their weight.  They are also much more likely to experience social distress and phobias related to their weight (i.e. scared to go out because of what people might think of them).

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