Screening Obese Adolescents for Binge Eating Disorder in Primary Care: The Adolescent Binge Eating Scale

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the performance of a simple and developmentally appropriate 10-item questionnaire (Adolescent Binge Eating Scale) for the prediction of binge eating disorder (BED) diagnosis in adolescents seen for obesity.

Study design

We evaluated the performance of the questionnaire in comparison with a clinical interview, in a population of adolescents being seen for obesity. The χ2 or Fisher exact tests were used.

Results

There were 94 adolescents aged 12-18 years (59.6% girls) who completed the study. The questionnaire demonstrated a good association with the clinical interview and distinguished different levels of risk for having a BED: participants who responded positively to questions 1 or 2 and had more than 6 positive answers to the 8 additional questions had a high risk of subclinical and clinical BED (83.3%); participants with 3 or fewer positive answers had a low risk of clinical BED (4%).

Conclusions

The Adolescent Binge Eating Scale questionnaire is a potential screening tool to identify adolescents with obesity at high risk of BED and guide referral to a specialist to clarify the diagnosis and provide adequate care.

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