OBJECTIVE: Prevalence of binge eating has been shown to be as common in men as in women, yet few studies have included men. Men are especially underrepresented in treatment studies, raising the question of whether men who binge eat experience less distress or impairment than women. This study compared demographic and clinical correlates of binge eating in a large employee sample of men and women.
METHOD: Cross-sectional data from 21,743 men and 24,608 women who participated in a health risk self assessment screening were used. Group differences in obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, Type 2 diabetes, depression, stress, sleep, sick days, work impairment, and nonwork activity impairment were tested using chi-square tests (categorical variables) and independent sample t-tests (continuous variables).
RESULTS: Effect size estimates indicate that men (n = 1,630) and women (n = 2,754) who binge eat experience comparable levels of clinical impairment. They also report substantially greater impairment when compared with men and women who do not binge eat.
DISCUSSION: The underrepresentation of men in treatment-seeking samples does not appear to reflect lower levels of impairment in men versus women. Efforts are needed to raise awareness of the clinical significance of binge eating in men so that this group can receive appropriate screening and treatment services.