Binge Eating Behaviour in Veterans

sharma-obesity-depressionBinge eating behaviour is reported by 25-40% of patients presenting in weight-loss programs.

Now a study by Diana Higgins and colleagues, New Haven, CT, published in OBESITY find a remarkbaly higher prevalence of binge eating behaviour, particularly in male US military veterans.

As in Canada, overweight and obesity is an increasing issue in veterans and therefore this survey of over 45,000 overweight and obese veterans receiving care in US Veterans Health Administration facilities is of interest.

Nearly, three-quarters of the sample (78.2%) reported clinically meaningful binge eating (i.e., two or more times per week), with binge-eaters more likely to report higher body mass index, depression, anxiety, and type 2 diabetes.

In addition, the prevalence of clinically meaningful binge eating was also higher among those with hypertension, CAD, hyperlipidemia, arthritis/joint pain, substance abuse, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive–compulsive disorder. On the other hand, patients who reported binge eating were slightly less likely to report tobacco use.

Interestingly, and in contrast to what is generally believed about binge eating, male veterans were significantly more likely to report clinically meaningful binge eating than female veterans.

Irrespective of these sex differences, these data strongly suggest that rather than simply focussing on promoting healthier eating and physical activity, obesity programs for veterans must assess and provided treatments for binge eating behaviour.

Edmonton, AB

ResearchBlogging.orgHiggins DM, Dorflinger L, Macgregor KL, Heapy AA, Goulet JL, & Ruser C (2013). Binge eating behavior among a national sample of overweight and obese veterans. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 21 (5), 900-3 PMID: 23784891