Binge eating disorder (BED) is a clinically impairing condition characterized by recurrent out-of-control eating episodes and painful cognitive concerns regarding body shape and weight. BED appears to be equally prevalent across racial/ethnic groups including African Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians, and shows associations with obesity in all racial/ethnic groups. Ethnic minorities with BED are less likely t receive treatment, and most commonly seek treatment for weight management as opposed to mental health issues. Minimal data are available concerning treatment-seeking ethnic minorities with BED. This study aims to describe and compare the prevalence, characteristics, and correlates of African American, Latino, and Caucasian patients with BED presenting for treatment at an urban, ethnically-diverse, community-hospital center for nutrition and weight management. The study will use self-report questionnaire methods, and all new intakes will be recruited for participation. Data concerning body mass index (BMI), treatment retention and response after six months will be collected from participants'hospital charts. Data will be collected from N=750 consecutive, consenting presenting for weight management. Prevalence estimates and hospital intake data suggest n=260 of the new intakes will receive a diagnosis of BED, including n=110 African American participants, n=90 Caucasian participants, and n=60 Latino/Hispanic participants.
The first aim i s to compare racial/ethnic groups regarding demographic variables, BMI, symptoms of binge eating, cognitive symptoms of BED, associated psychiatric issues, self-stigma, level of stress, and reasons for seeking treatment.
The second aim i s to examine the relative influence of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, readiness for treatment, self-stigma, and stress on treatment retention and response.
The third aim i s to examine the generalizability of data from treatment efficacy trials by comparing data from this study to the data included in an aggregated database from twelve randomized, controlled trials of psychosocial treatments for BED created with NIMH funding in a study conducted at Boston University and available to the PI. [To further contextualize the data, participants in this study will be compared to individuals with BED included in a publically accessible epidemiological database.] The results from this study will address a severe lack of information regarding treatment-seeking ethnic minorities with BED at the most common point of entry to relevant health services for this population. Data concerning the symptoms, treatment retention and motivation in minority groups are crucial to informing successful provision of health services and addressing related health disparities. This fellowship will also support an underrepresented minority in a research field-psychopathology and treatment of eating disorders-that has few racial/ethnic minorities among its academic researchers.

Public Health Relevance

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a clinically impairing condition that appears to be prevalent across all ethnic groups;however, there are very little data on the topic of BED among treatment-seeking ethnic minorities. The current study aims to identify the clinical epidemiology of BED in an under-researched health services delivery setting (i.e., an urban community hospital weigh management program), where ethnic minorities with BED are most likely to seek treatment. These data concerning symptoms, motivation for treatment, mutable predictors of treatment retention and response in minority groups are crucial to informing successful provision of health services.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Dissertation Award (R36)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-M (01))
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Hill, Lauren D
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Boston University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Richards, Lauren K; McHugh, R Kathryn; Pratt, Elizabeth M et al. (2013) Readability and comprehension of self-report binge eating measures. Eat Behav 14:167-70