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Does dietary restraint play a causal role in binge eating disorder?

12 December 1997


Binge Eating Disorder (BED), a diagnostic research category in the DSM-IV, is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating with the absence of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). A significant number of individuals with BED are overweight (Spitzer et at, 1992, 1993). These individuals also report moderately high levels of body dissatisfaction (de Zwaan et aI., 1994; Fichter et aI., 1993) and tend to fare less well in behavioral weight loss programs than obese individuals without the disorder (Yanovski, Nelson, Dubbert, & Spitzer, 1993). A substantial amount of evidence exists to suggest that dieting plays a causal role in the development of binge eating problems in individuals with bulimia nervosa. Clinical studies have found that patients with bulimia nervosa almost always report that dieting preceded the onset of binge eating (Fairburn & Cooper, 1984; Hsu, 1990; Johnson et al., 1983).


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