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Binge Eating Disorder

B.E.D. is a distinct medical condition recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.1 It is the most common eating disorder among adults in the United States and is more prevalent than anorexia and bulimia combined,2,3* affecting an estimated 2.8 million adults.2,4B.E.D. occurs in both men and women,2 is seen across racial and ethnic groups,5 and can occur in normal weight, overweight, and obese adults.2§

B.E.D. is characterized by regularly eating far more food than most people would eat in a similar time period, with binge eating taking place on average, at least once a week for three months. Among other symptoms, adults with B.E.D. feel that their eating is out of control during a binge and find binge eating very upsetting. B.E.D. is more than overeating and, unlike other eating disorders, people with B.E.D. don’t routinely try to “undo” their excessive eating with extreme actions like purging or over-exercising.1

Only a doctor or other trained health care professional can diagnose B.E.D. and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

For more information on B.E.D., talk to your health care provider. You can also visit the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) website,, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, or, the website.


* Estimated 12-month and lifetime prevalence based on a national survey of US adults at least 18 years of age
† Estimated 12-month prevalence in a survey of US adults at least 18 years of age, extrapolated to the full US population at least 18 years of age
‡ Sample from a combined data set of 3 nationally representative US samples
§ Data from a sub-sample of 2,980 adults at least 18 years of age who were assessed for an eating disorder in a national survey


  1. American Psychiatric Association. Binge-eating disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013:350-353.
  2. Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, Kessler RC. [Published correction appears in Biol Psychiatry. 2012;72(2):164.] Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(3):348-358.
  3. Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Chiu WT, et al. Biol Psychiatry. 2013;73(9):904-914.
  4. Howden LM, Meyer JA. US Census Bureau Age and Sex Composition: 2010. US Census Bureau. May 2011.
  5. Marques L, Alegria M, Becker AE, et. al. Int J Eat Disord. July 2011; 44(5): 412-420.

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