Binge eating disorder among obese/overweight in Pakistan: Under-diagnosed, undertreated and misunderstood

Author(s): Madeeha Malik, Waseem Shaukat and Azhar Hussain

Introduction: Obese persons with BED have compromised functioning mostly in psycho-social aspects of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) as poor physical functioning is related to obesity. Despite the higher prevalence of BED compared with other eating disorders, lack of understanding of BED by physicians and inadequate physician-patient communication regarding BED may result in it’s under diagnosis.

Objective: The objective of the study was to assess binge eating disorder among overweight/obese in two major cities of Pakistan.

Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. A pre-validated data collection tool Binge Eating Disorder Screener-7 (BEDS-7) was distributed to a sample of 382 obese/overweight individuals. Binge Eating Disorder Screener-7 (BEDS-7) questionnaires is comprised of seven questions that directly evaluate the patient’s eating patterns and behaviors for binge eating disorder. Convenient sampling technique was used to select the respondents. After data collection, the data was cleaned, coded and entered in SPSS version-21. Chi-square test (p ≥ 0.05) was performed to find out the association between different variables.

Results: The results revealed that nearly half of the respondents of the overweight/obese had an eating disorder among them. Out of the total sample 35.1% (n=134) respondent, agreed that they had episodes of excessive overeating during the last 3 months. The results highlighted that 64.9% (n=248) had no binge eating disorder while 15.7% (n=60) of the respondents had moderate binge eating disorder and 14.9% (n=57) had severe binge eating disorder.

Conclusion: The current study concluded that moderate binge eating disorder was seen among most of the obese individuals but BED in most of the cases goes undiagnosed. Binge eating disorder was more common among students and non-smokers. Early detection and evidence-based treatment strategies can help the patients to recover on initial stages and prevent from a further complication of binge eating disorder.