Disordered Eating Behavior and Associated Risk Factors amongst Obese Outpatients at a Weight Management Clinic in a Medical Center

Hsiao-Ying Wu, Pei-Chia Huang, Po Hsiu Kuo, Chin-Sung Chang, Kuo Ting Lee, Chiu Ying Chen, Su-E Kuo, Mei-Chih Tseng, Lung Yu, Chih Hsing Wu

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Background and Purpose: It has been suggested that obesity is associated with eating disorders; however, only a few studies have focused on disordered eating behaviors amongst obese adults. The aim of the current study was to determine the prevalence and putative factors of eating disorders amongst obese outpatients in a weight management outpatient clinic. Methods: One hundred thirty-two obese patients (60 men and 72 women; age range, 18-55 years; body mass index, ≥ 25.0 kg/m2) from a weight management outpatient clinic in a medical center and 103 non-obese volunteers (38 men and 65 women; body mass index, 18.5 -24.9 kg/m2) were enrolled. Disordered eating behavior was assessed using the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) with cut-offs for high-risk eating disorder (HRED) and probable eating disorder (PED) at ≥ 11 and ≥ 20, respectively. The interactive factors for eating disorders, such as demographic characteristics, body mass index, waist circumference, and life style, were analyzed further. Results: The prevalence of HRED and PED was 35.6% and 10.6% in obese patients, and 23.3% and 6.8% in non-obese patients, respectively. There was a higher prevalence of HRED, and higher total EAT-26 and dieting subscale scores in obese patients than non-obese adults (p<0.05). The prevalence of PED, bulimia, and food pre-occupation, and the oral control subscale score were not significantly different between the obese and non-obese groups. Logistic regression analysis revealed that older age, non-married status, lower body mass index, and higher waist circumference were significant risk factors for HRED in obese outpatients. Conclusions: Obese subjects in a weight management outpatient clinic had a higher risk of disordered eating behaviors than non-obese adults, and exhibited significantly different characteristics and life style. We suggest that screening for eating disorders and referral to psychological counseling is appropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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