UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Eating Behaviors: Prevalence, Psychiatric Comorbidity, and Associations With Body Mass Index Among Male and Female Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Diagnosis | Investigative Techniques | Mental Disorders | Military and Veterans Studies | Nutrition | Physiological Processes | Psychiatry


OBJECTIVE: There is a dearth of research examining eating behaviors, such as binge eating, among male and female veterans. The present study evaluated the prevalence of self-reported eating problems as well as associations with body mass index and psychiatric disorders among male and female Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

METHODS: Participants were 298 male and 364 female veterans (M = 33.3 +/- 10.6 years old) from the Women Veterans Cohort Study, a study of male and female veterans enrolled for Veterans Affairs care in New England or Indiana. Veterans self-reported on emotion- and stress-related eating, eating disorder diagnoses, and disordered eating behaviors. Diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and alcohol abuse were obtained from administrative records.

RESULTS: Female veterans reported higher rates of eating problems than did their male counterparts. Women and men who engage in disordered eating had higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder, and women who engage in disordered eating had greater rates of alcohol abuse than did female veterans without eating disordered behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS: Disordered eating may be a significant issue among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and veterans with eating problems are more likely to have comorbid mental health conditions that further increase their health risks.


body mass index procedure, eating disorders, emotions, afghanistan, comorbidity, diagnosis, dual (psychiatry), feeding behaviors, iraq, mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, veterans, eating, stress, binge eating, self-report

DOI of Published Version



Mil Med. 2016 Nov;181(11):e1650-e1656. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Military medicine

PubMed ID