Overvaluation and binge eating predict distress and impairment in binge eating disorder

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Binge eating disorder can lead to a wide number of mental and physical health problems which can negatively impact a person’s well-being. However, a new study may have found factors that could help pinpoint women whose quality of life may be most severely affected.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, overvaluation and binge eating appear to be the strongest predictors of distress and impairment among women with binge eating disorder.

The researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, led by Deborah Mitchison, Ph.D., analyzed data from a sample of 174 women to identify the most significant factors contributing to distress and disability in those with binge eating disorder. The factors evaluated included binge eating, body image disturbance, and body mass index.

The results showed a strong association between binge eating and overvaluation with distress and functional impairment, while they found little to no association for BMI and impairment or distress. Overvaluation, in particular, appeared to be a strong force contributing to functional impairment.

“The findings support the inclusion of overvaluation as a diagnostic criterion or specifier in BED and the need to focus on body image disturbance in treatment and public health efforts in order to reduce the individual and community health burden of this condition,” Mitchison and colleagues write.

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