Hundreds of millions of people across the world and at least 30 million in US alone, suffer from an eating disorder called as “Binge Eating”.

People with binge eating disorder often eat large amounts of food , and in a small period of time. Some follow with compensatory behaviour like purging or excessive exercise, exhibit bulimia nervosa.

University of North Carolina’s medical school is starting a study called BEGIN, which stands for Binge Eating Genetics Initiative, to understand overeating. The study would recruit 1,000 participants, ages 18 or older, who have experience with either binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa.

Each participant gets a free watch, courtesy of Apple.

Researchers will track their heart rate using the device’s sensor over the course of a month. This is to see if there are spikes before binge eating episodes. It’s likely that a binging and purging episode would cause some biological change, that would show up in the Apple Watch data.

Once data is collected, University of Utah researchers would do it’s statistical modelling.

Researchers are using data to understand if binge eating has any biological or behavioural signature. Thus they could be able to predict, when a binge eating episode is bound to happen. May be later on, an alert mechanism could be set up, to offer support and advice, to mitigate the incident.

We’re interested in what happens in the period leading up to the binge and the purge,And we hope we can anticipate and change the course of that episode.