Background Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is related to obesity in children; treatment of obesity could be improved by using either a nutritional and psychotherapeutic strategy.
Aims To assess the prevalence of BED and weight trend in an overweight or obese pediatric population; to evaluate an Integrated Therapeutic Approach (ITA) in a BED positive group.
Methods Ninenty-seven subjects (M/F 53/44, mean age 11.0±2.4 yr, range 6.1–16.2) with overweight (M/F 8/18) or obesity (M/F 45/26) undergone physical examination, body weight, waist and hip circumference and blood pressure. A Binge Eating Scale (BES) to evaluate BED (positive>17) was used. All BED-positive patients were asked for a normocaloric diet for age and regular physical activity for at least an hour a day and followed with monthly checks; six BED-positive children undergone both medical visits and 10 sessions of psychotherapy (ITA). BED was evaluated before and after psychotherapy.
Results BED was found in 29/97 (29.9%) subjects, of whom 20 (69%) had a BMI >95th percentile. BMI did not change in the six BED-positive children followed with ITA nor in a matched group of six BED-positive children followed without ITA (3/6 dropped-out). Instead, ITA reduced gravity of BED in all patients and negativized (BES< 17) in four patients.
Conclusions Early improvements in BED can be achieved with an integrated therapeutic approach as a first step for long-term reduction of obesity.