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This study examined by questionnaire the prevalence of binge-eating and self-induced vomiting among a sample of 369 consecutive attenders at a family planning clinic. 20.9 per cent reported current episodes of uncontrollable and excessive eating ('binges'), 2.9 per cent currently induced vomiting as a means of weight control; and 4.9 per cent reported using laxatives. Binge-eating and self-induced vomiting were strongly associated with disturbed attitudes to food, eating, body weight and shape; and with psychiatric disturbance. Menstrual dysfunction was not associated with either body weight or binge-eating; it was however associated with psychiatric state. Applying conservative rules, 1.9 per cent appeared to fulfil diagnostic criteria for the recently described syndrome bulimia nervosa.


Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





139 - 144


Adolescent, Adult, Body Weight, Cathartics, England, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Female, Humans, Hyperphagia, Menstruation, Substance-Related Disorders, Vomiting