Washington: Obese men who binge eat are more likely to have elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure than their female counterparts, a new study has found.
Binge eating disorder is defined as the repeated consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time without some other compensatory activity, such as the vomiting seen in bulimia.
People with binge eating disorder also report feeling of a loss of control over their eating.
Men have generally been under-represented in studies of obesity and of binge eating disorder, said Tomoko Udo, associate research scientist in psychiatry at Yale University and lead author of the study.
"People used to think binge eating was less common in men than women," she said.
The study examined 190 people (141 women and 49 men) who were seeking treatment for obesity and binge eating disorder in a primary care setting.
Even after adjusting for race and body mass index, men were three times as likely to meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study group consisted of people who sought help with their weight, which may have a bearing on the higher incidence of metabolic syndrome seen in men, Udo said.
Men are often less likely to seek medical help, which may mean that men who do may be suffering more from consequences of obesity and binge eating, she pointed out.
Overall, the study found few psychological differences between men and women with binge eating disorder, except that women were more likely than men to become overweight earlier and to attempt dieting earlier and men were more likely to say that they engaged in strenuous physical activity in an attempt to lose weight.
The study was published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.