Binge eating among older women: prevalence rates and health correlates across three independent samples

Salomé Adelia Wilfred, Carolyn Black Becker, Kathryn E. Kanzler, Nicolas Musi, Sara E. Espinoza, Lisa Smith Kilpela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Emerging research indicates that binge eating (BE; consuming unusually large amounts of food in one siting while feeling a loss of control) is prevalent among older women. Yet, health correlates of BE in older adult populations are poorly understood. The original study aimed to investigate BE prevalence, frequency, and health correlates in a sample of older adult women. Based on results from this first study, we then sought to replicate findings in two additional samples of older adult women from separate studies. Method: Using self-reported frequencies of BE from three separate samples of older women with very different demographics, we compared BE prevalence, frequency, and health correlates among older women. Study 1 (N = 185) includes data collected online (86% White; 59% overweight/obese status). Study 2 (N = 64) was conducted in person at a local food pantry (65% Hispanic; 47% household income < $10,000/year). Study 3 (N = 100) comprises data collected online (72% White; 50% Masters/Doctoral Degree). Results: Per DSM-5 frequency criterion of BE at least weekly, we found prevalence rates ranging from 19 to 26% across the three samples. Correlates of BE frequency included elevated negative mood, worry, BMI, and less nutritious food consumption. Conclusions: Across three very different samples in terms of race/ethnicity, education, food security status, measurements, and sampling methodology, we found fairly consistent rates of self-reported BE at least weekly (19–26%). Results suggest that BE is related to negative health indices among older women and support the need for more research in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Aging
  • Binge eating
  • Women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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