The VALIDATE study found in a survey of more than 10,000 Canadian adults, the 12-month prevalence of BED was 1.53% (2.15% of women and 0.89% of men).*
The VALIDATE study found that in a survey of more than 10,000 Canadian adults, more people experienced symptoms of BED in the last 12 months than anorexia and bulimia combined (1.7% vs 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively).*
The exact cause of BED is unknown, but chemicals in the brain, family history and certain life experiences may play a role.
BED often begins in the late teens or early 20s.
BED affects slightly more women than men. About 40% of those with BED are male.
BED is more than just overeating. It is a mental health disorder that can seriously affect psychological and physical health. Overeating may be a challenge for many people but BED is much less common, much more severe and is associated with significant physical and psychological problems.
BED is characterized by the following symptoms:
Recurrent episodes of binge eating, which includes both:
Eating, in a discrete period of time (such as within a 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances
The sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
Eating much more rapidly than normal
Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
Marked distress regarding binge eating is present
The binge eating occurs on average at least 1 day a week for 3 months
The binge eating is not associated with recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviour (such as purging, fasting or excessive exercise) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
Binge eating disorder can be mild (1-3 episodes per week); moderate (4-7 episodes per week); severe (8-13 episodes per week) or extreme (14 or more episodes per week).
If you think you may have BED, there is help.
Information and support for BED
You are not alone! There are many resources about BED available. If you would like more information, you can visit these websites to learn more.