IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 6243: Binge Eating Disorder Is a Social Justice Issue: A Cross-Sectional Mixed-Methods Study of Binge Eating Disorder Experts’ Opinions (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Binge eating disorder is an autonomous DSM-V diagnosis characterized by discrete rapid consumption of objectively large amounts of food without compensation, associated with loss of control and distress. Environmental factors that contribute to binge eating disorder continue to evolve. This mixed-methods cross-sectional study assessed whether there is consensus among experts in the field about environmental factors that influence adult binge eating disorder pathology. Methods: Fourteen expert binge eating disorder researchers, clinicians, and healthcare administrators were identified internationally based on federal funding, PubMed-indexed publications, active practice in the field, leadership in relevant societies, and/or clinical and popular press distinction. Semi-structured interviews were recorded anonymously and analyzed by ≥2 investigators using reflexive thematic analysis and quantification. Results: Identified themes included: (1) systemic issues and systems of oppression (100%); (2) marginalized and under-represented populations (100%); (3) economic precarity and food/nutrition insecurity/scarcity (93%); (4) stigmatization and its psychological impacts (93%); (5) trauma and adversity (79%); (6) interpersonal factors (64%); (7) social messaging and social media (50%); (8) predatory food industry practices (29%); and (9) research/clinical gaps and directives (100%). Conclusions: Overall, experts call for policy changes around systemic factors that abet binge eating and for greater public education about who can have binge eating disorder. There is also a call to take and account for the narratives and life experiences of individuals with binge eating disorder to better inform our current understanding of the diagnosis and the environmental factors that impact it.