Binge eating disorder is bidirectionally associated with obesity and with metabolic syndrome. It is less clear whether overeating and binge eating, or overeating with loss of control, also predicts metabolic risk, and if so, whether these associations are solely attributable to greater weight. The goal of this study was to examine longitudinal associations of overeating and binge eating behavior with cardiometabolic risk markers in adolescence.
Adolescents (n = 619) in the Project Viva research study self-reported overeating and binge eating behavior in early adolescence (median 12.9 years, "baseline"). In late adolescence (median 17.4 years, "follow-up"), we assessed outcomes of adiposity and blood pressure, and in a subset of participants (n = 270-424), biomarkers of dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, liver dysfunction, inflammation, and adipokine homeostasis. We conducted multivariable linear regression analyses adjusted for socio-demographics and prenatal obesogenic exposures, and additionally for baseline body mass index (BMI) z-score.
At baseline, 58 (9%) participants reported overeating behavior, and of those, 24 (41%) had binge eating behavior (e.g., overeating accompanied by loss of control). In adjusted models, adolescents with overeating had higher adiposity at follow-up ~ 5 years later (e.g., % body fat 4.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.76, 6.31) than those not reporting overeating behavior; additional adjustment for baseline BMI z-score attenuated associations generally except for % body fat (2.95; 95% CI 1.03, 4.87). Overeating behavior was also associated with higher inflammation and greater adipokine dysfunction, remaining positively associated with interleukin-6 (IL-6) (log-transformed β = 0.42 pg/mL; 95% CI 0.12, 0.73) and negatively with adiponectin (log-transformed β = -0.28 ug/mL; 95% CI - 0.47, - 0.08) even after adjusting for baseline BMI z-score. Overeating behavior was not consistently associated with other outcomes. Adolescents reporting binge eating behavior generally had the greatest adiposity, (e.g., % body fat 5.00; 95% CI 1.74, 8.25) as compared to those without overeating.
Adolescents reporting overeating and binge eating behavior had higher adiposity and poorer inflammatory and adipokine profiles, but no difference in other outcomes, than adolescents who did not endorse these behaviors. These associations were only partially accounted for by higher baseline BMI z-score. These differences may signal increased risk for future cardiovascular disease.