Soon, a Mobile App for Binge Eating?

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December Volume 24, Number 6
©2013 Gürze Books

Researchers at Drexel University, Philadelphia, are developing a cell phone app that will track users’ individual patterns of eating and binge-eating behavior and then alert them when they are at risk for binge eating. As reported in a recent press release from the University, Drs. Evan Forman, associate professor psychology at Drexel, and Meghan Butryn, of Drexel’s Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change, are currently participating in a new evidence-based approach to small group behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder. Dr. Forman noted that among individuals who binge-eat, there is a cycle of mounting pressure toward a binge episode with triggers that make it more likely that a binge will occur. The “Take Control” mobile phone app will help patients recognize these triggers and avoid the binge episode.

Users can record their binge-eating activity and urges, multiple mood states, and whether or not they’ve eaten regular meals and taken their prescription medications. As the app “learns” about an individual’s patterns of binge-eating behavior and his or her individual triggers, it can prompt the person with a warning alert when their personal risk is high. When warned that they are at risk for a binge, or at any time of their own choosing, users can follow the app’s customized interventions to get immediate help.

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