Shire plc announced today its partnership with the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), and globally-renowned tennis player Monica Seles to launch the first-ever, large-scale national effort to raise awareness of Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) in adults.

Video: Tennis champion, Monica Seles, shares her story about Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) (:60)

This expert team is joining forces to motivate adults who may struggle with B.E.D. symptoms to learn more and talk to their health care provider.

B.E.D. is a distinct medical condition recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. It is a more common eating disorder than anorexia and bulimia combined, affecting an estimated 2.8 million US adults, according to a national survey. B.E.D. is characterized by regularly eating far more food than most people would eat in a similar time period, with binges taking place on at least a weekly basis for three months. Adults with B.E.D. feel that their eating is out of control during a binge and find binges very upsetting, among other symptoms. B.E.D. is more than overeating and, unlike other eating disorders, people with B.E.D. don’t routinely try to “undo” their excessive eating with extreme actions like purging or over-exercising. B.E.D. occurs in both men and women.

“There is a misconception that adults with B.E.D. fit a certain profile” said Monica Seles. “I felt ashamed about my binge eating for so long, and my hope is that hearing the stories of people like me, and having information about the disorder more publicly available, may help inspire other adults to get the support they need.”

Seles also wrote about her experience in her book, Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self.

The national campaign is also supported by the efforts of Sunny Sea Gold, author of Food: the Good Girl’s Drug. “It wasn’t until I started getting help that I really understood that B.E.D. is not a personality issue, but a real, medical disorder affecting many adults,” said Sunny Sea Gold. “This empowered me to start having productive conversations with my family and my health care providers.”

The campaign website, BingeEatingDisorder.com, features information about B.E.D. and how to recognize the symptoms, its potential causes, experiences of others with B.E.D., including a series of public service announcements (PSAs), and tips for how to raise the topic with health care providers and loved ones.

“We are proud to be joined by such a great team of partners to provide education for adults who may have B.E.D.,” said Perry Sternberg, Head of Shire’s Neuroscience Business Unit. “Shire’s focus on awareness of B.E.D. in adults is part of our ongoing commitment to meeting unmet needs of adults with this condition.”

“We are aware that many adults may experience symptoms for a long time before speaking to a health care provider, and we hope that this will help encourage them to get the support they need,” said Chevese Turner, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, BEDA. “We are thrilled to be able to continue our work supporting adults with B.E.D. with the launch of this campaign.”

While B.E.D. often starts in early adulthood, only 3 percent of US adults in an online survey who met B.E.D. criteria in the past 12 months reported having been diagnosed with the condition by a health care provider. Additionally, fewer than 50 percent of adults with B.E.D. are obese, based on a national survey of U.S. adults.

“We are pleased to be participating in this campaign as it fits within NEDA’s overall commitment to raising awareness of eating disorders,” said Lynn Grefe, CEO and President. “Given the prevalence and lack of awareness of B.E.D., we feel it essential to bring particular attention to B.E.D. as the most common eating disorder among US adults.”

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