Incidence and Weight Trajectories of Binge Eating Disorder among Young Women in the Community

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To assess the population prevalence and incidence of binge eating disorder (BED) among young women.


In a nationwide longitudinal study of Finnish twins born 1975–1979, the women participated in five surveys from age 16 until their mid-thirties. At Wave 4 (mean age 24 years), the women (N = 2,825) underwent a 2-stage screening for eating disorders. We assessed the lifetime prevalence, incidence, and clinical characteristics of DSM-5 BED.


We detected 16 women who met DSM-5 criteria for BED, yielding a lifetime prevalence of 0.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.4–1.2%). The incidence of BED among women between 10 and 24 years of age was 35 (95% CI 20–60) per 100,000 person-years. The mean age of onset of BED was 19 years (range 13–27 years). Of the cases, 13/16 (81%) were currently ill. Duration of illness at the time of assessment ranged from less than a year to 13 years (median 6 years). Of women with BED, only two had a history of other eating disorders, but six had lifetime major depressive disorder. Two-thirds of the women with BED belonged to the highest weight quartile at age 16, and their mean BMI at age 22–27 year was 26.2 kg/m2 (range 22.1–32.5 kg/m2).


Incident BED as defined by DSM-5 was relatively rare among younger women and was often preceded by relative overweight. BED often occurred without a history of other eating disorders, but comorbidity with major depressive disorder was common. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:1106–1112).

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