Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder Tied to Increased Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(HealthDay News) — Binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa are associated with increased incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Anu Raevuori, MD, PhD, from the University of Helsinki, and colleagues examined the prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a 2,342 patients treated at the Eating Disorder Unit of Helsinki University vs. 9,368 matched general population controls over 16 years. 

Type 2 diabetes incidence was examined over three stages: before entering treatment for an eating disorder; after entering treatment until the end of the study; and combined any time before, during and after treatment.

The risk for type 2 diabetes was increased in patients vs. controls (OR=6.6; 95% CI, 4.0–10.7) before entering treatment for eating disorders, the researchers found. 

The lifetime prevalence was 5.2% among patients at the end of the study period, compared with 1.7% among controls; prevalence was significantly higher in male patients vs. female patients. 

By the end of the study, every third patient treated for binge eating disorder had type 2 diabetes (OR=12.9; 95% CI, 7.4–22.5) and 4.4% of those with bulimia nervosa had type 2 diabetes OR=2.4; 95% CI, 1.7–3.5)

“Our findings provide strong support for the association between [type 2 diabetes] and clinically significant binge eating,” the researchers wrote. “Disturbed glucose metabolism may contribute to the onset and maintenance of [binge eating disorder] and [bulimia nervosa].”


  1. Raevuori A et al. Int J Eat Disord. 2015;48(6):555-562.