Self-reported symptoms of binge-eating disorder among adolescents in a community-based Danish cohort—A study of prevalence, correlates, and impact

Else M. Olsen*, Susanne V. Koch, Anne M. Skovgaard, Katrine Strandberg-Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: Binge-eating disorder (BED) was established as a diagnosis in 2013 with the DSM-5 and has been included in the ICD-11 in 2018. In adulthood, BED is prevalent and correlated with somatic and mental health problems. Less is known about BED in adolescence, although this age period could represent a window of opportunity for early intervention. This study aimed to investigate the 1-year prevalence, correlates, and impact of BED symptoms in a community sample of adolescents. Method: We included 1,404 girls and 1,105 boys from the 16-years-follow-up of the Copenhagen Child Cohort study, CCC2000. The adolescents self-reported on BED symptoms, weight-status, body perception, mental health problems, and self-rated impact of food and weight-related thoughts and behaviors. Information about socio-economic factors and hospital diagnosed psychiatric disorders were obtained from national registries. Results: A total of 8.5% reported weekly overeating with loss of control (10.9% of girls, 4.8% of boys), and 2.6% (3.6% of girls, 1.2% of boys) reported symptoms consistent with BED according to the DSM-5. Regardless of sex, BED was correlated with concurrent overweight, body-dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and mental health problems, especially emotional, but also with problems of behavior, inattention, and peer-relations, and with high self-rated impact on everyday life. Immigrant background and lower socio-economy were potential risk factors for BED in boys in this sample. Discussion: BED was prevalent and correlated with mental health problems and overall impact among adolescents in this community sample, indicating the need for clinical attention and intervention towards binge-eating disorder in the adolescent period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)492-505
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • adolescents
  • binge-eating disorder
  • community-based
  • impact
  • mental health problems
  • overweight


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