Largest Binge-eating Study Will Include Men

NESCAC Coach of the Year John Crooke reports: The New England Regional meet was the major highlight for both men’s and women’s teams in 2005. The women placed 7th in the toughest region in the country and the men placed 2nd to qualify as a team to the National Championships. The men ended up placing 14th at nationals. The men placed four runners on the All New England regional team and Owen Kiely was the New England Champion. Owen Kiely and Ellen Davis both attained All-America status by virtue of their finish at the National Championships. Cross country is a simple sport. It’s not running, it is racing. I am always telling my team that time doesn’t matter, place does. Cross country is a team sport. Most people think of it as an individual sport. A team is made up of seven runners. The first five runners score for the team. Each runner gets points based on his or her finish. If you place 5th, your team gets five points and if you place 27th, your team gets 27 points. You add up the points for your first five runners. The team with the lowest point total wins. Almost all of my athletes run all three seasons. The athletes need to train year round to be successful at the national level. NESCAC Cross Country on the women’s side it is without question the toughest conference in the country. The national team champion and runner up have come from the NESCAC the past five seasons. This fall was the first time in six years that the national champion was not a NESCAC school. Last fall our women’s team placed 5th in the NESCAC, 5th in the New England region and 14th in the country. The men’s side is very strong too but it is not the strongest in the country. I would say it is in the top three or four of the toughest conferences in the country.An internationally-recognized expert on eating disorders, Striegel-Moore says the four-year study will take place in Portland, Oregon, and will include male and female subjects between 18 and 50 years of age. The study is being funded by National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease, and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research of Portland, Oregon.


“Kaiser-Permanente’s involvement is the reason that the study will be conducted in Portland,” Striegel-Moore says. “That’s where they are headquartered and they will provide access to the study population and offer the clinical sites.”


Kaiser-Permanente maintains an extensive database of all its members’ health care visits, conditions and treatments, as well as significant demographic information on each patient. It has extensive procedures in place that ensure patients’ information is protected and that individuals’ participation in the study is completely voluntarily. As a result, Striegel-Moore and her co-investigators will be able to look beyond the immediate data generally associated the eating disorder studies.


“For example, in these studies we usually know the subject’s age, sex, and maybe a little bit more,” she says. “But this database will allow us to look at such things as health history, income level, education, past treatments sought, and a wealth of other information that will allow us to get much more specific in our analysis. It’s a treasure trove of comprehensive data that is, quite frankly, a researcher’s dream.”


Striegel-Moore says that this is the first major study to include male subjects and such a broad age range. As a result, the study will provide new data on how common binge-eating is in men and individuals who are beyond college-age.


“We know that men and people who are not in their teens and twenties suffer from binge eating too,” she says. “But for some reason they’ve been excluded from major studies.


“One of the innovative components of this study is that we will examine in detail what treatments people receive as part of usual clinical care,” she says. “Prior studies have investigated how successful an experimental treatment was. What is unknown is how eating disorders are being treated in clinical practices outside of clinical research studies. Our study will also examine the cost of our treatment compared to the cost of the typical treatment patients receive in the context of usual clinical care. This will help inform decisions about optimal use of scarce health care resources.”


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