Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric illness associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Weight-restored females with AN with limited diet variety, assessed by a diet variety score, have been reported to have poor outcome. Using the same patient cohort, the objective of the current study was to provide a detailed description of the types of foods from which patients restrict variety in their diets. Forty-one weight-restored patients, hospitalized between June 2000 and July 2005, who completed a four-day food record prior to discharge were followed for up to one-year. Patient outcome was categorized as a success (n=29) or failure (n=12) using Morgan-Russell criteria. Although the total number of foods selected did not differ between the success and failure groups (73 +/− 14 vs. 74 + /− 13 respectively, P = 0.741), a significant difference in the total number of different foods was observed: the failure group selected fewer and the success group selected more (43 +/− 9 vs. 51 +/− 7, P = 0.005). Outcome groups also differed significantly in the variety of foods selected from 5 out of 17 food groups. Results suggest that a diet limited in total variety and specifically limited in variety from five food groups may be associated with relapse in patients with AN.
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, food choice, diet variety, weight restoration, treatment outcome