In 1959, Albert Strunkard identified Binge Eating Disorder as a distinct eating pattern in  people who were suffering from obesity (Gibney et al, 2005).  It is generally believed that BED has a broader demographic distribution that that of anorexia and bulimia.

Several reports from the early 1980’s state that 20%-50% of the British population showed signs of moderate to severe binge eating, and it was believed at the time that United States statistics would have proven to be similar (Gibney et al, 2005).

More recent reports state that, based on community-based samples, BED affects 1%-5% of the population.  Moreover it affects 20%-50% of people surveyed in treatment-seeking samples  of overweight and obese individuals (Allen et al, 2008). It has also been reported that those affected with BED, date the onset back to childhood, and that it affects approximately one-third of treatment-seeking obese children (Allen et al, 2008).