Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10-7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10-6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10-6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10-6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4×10-6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
A growing body of literature has investigated the association between maternal anorexia nervosa and pregnancy outcomes. Infant low birth weight is associated with a number of neurodevelopmental and physical sequelae; however, consistent results on its association with maternal anorexia nervosa are scant. Therefore, a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature were undertaken. PubMed, Embase, and PsychInfo were searched for studies comparing the mean birth weight of babies delivered by mothers with (a history of) anorexia nervosa against those of healthy mothers. Studies were excluded from the meta-analysis if not presenting data from an unexposed comparison group and if using multiple eating disorders as exposure without presenting individual results. Fourteen studies were included in the systematic review and 9 in the meta-analysis, undertaken between 1999 and 2012 in Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Birth weights were standardized by dividing the difference in mean birth weight by the pooled standard deviation (equivalent to Cohen's d). Results showed a standardized mean difference of −0.19 kg (95% confidence interval: −0.25, −0.15; P = 0.01) in the birth weight of children of mothers with anorexia nervosa, and some bias in favor of papers presenting lower birth weight results for exposed mothers was detected. However, the small power of the analysis due to the small number of available studies and, thus, chance could partially account for this result. Our results confirm that maternal anorexia nervosa predicts lower birth weight and, despite some limitations, they have important clinical implications for prevention of adverse child outcomes.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; low birth weight; perinatal outcomes; pregnancy complications
There may be a link between anorexia nervosa and autism spectrum disorders. The aims of this study were to examine whether adolescents with anorexia nervosa have autism spectrum and/or obsessive-compulsive traits, how many would meet diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder, and whether these traits are shared by parents.
A total of 150 adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa or subthreshold anorexia nervosa and their parents completed the autism spectrum disorder and eating disorder sections of the Development and Well-being Assessment. Patients also completed the Children Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale and other measures of psychiatric morbidity, and parents completed the short Autism Quotient and Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory Revised.
Adolescents with anorexia nervosa had a below average social aptitude (19% below cut-off) and high levels of peer relationship problems (39% above cut-off) and obsessive-compulsive symptoms (56% above cut-off). Six cases (4%, all females) were assigned a possible (n = 5) or definite (n = 1) diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Parental levels of autism spectrum and obsessive-compulsive traits were within the normal range.
This study suggests that adolescents with anorexia nervosa have elevated levels of autism spectrum traits, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and a small proportion fulfil diagnostic criteria for a probable autism spectrum disorder. These traits did not appear to be familial. This comorbidity has been associated with a poorer prognosis. Therefore, adaptation of treatment for this subgroup may be warranted.
Controlled-trials.com: ISRCTN83003225. Registered on 29 September 2011.
Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorder; Autism spectrum disorder; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Traits; Social aptitude; Adolescents; Parents; Development; Well-being assessment
Animal studies indicate gonadal hormones at puberty have an effect on the development of masculine and feminine traits. However, it is unknown whether similar processes occur in humans. We examined whether women with anorexia nervosa (AN), who often experience primary amenorrhea, exhibit attenuated feminization in their psychological characteristics in adulthood due to the decrease/absence of gonadal hormones at puberty. Women with AN were compared on a number of psychological characteristics using General Linear Models based on the presence/absence of primary amenorrhea. Although women with primary amenorrhea exhibited lower anxiety scores than those without primary amenorrhea, in general, results did not provide evidence of attenuated feminization in women with AN with primary amenorrhea. Future research should utilize novel techniques and direct hormone measurement to explore the effects of pubertal gonadal hormones on masculine and feminine traits.
Organizational effects; sex differences; amenorrhea; pubertal timing; anorexia nervosa
The aim of this study is to examine emotional processing of infant displays in people with Eating Disorders (EDs).
Social and emotional factors are implicated as causal and maintaining factors in EDs. Difficulties in emotional regulation have been mainly studied in relation to adult interactions, with less interest given to interactions with infants.
A sample of 138 women were recruited, of which 49 suffered from Anorexia Nervosa (AN), 16 from Bulimia Nervosa (BN), and 73 were healthy controls (HCs). Attentional responses to happy and sad infant faces were tested with the visual probe detection task. Emotional identification of, and reactivity to, infant displays were measured using self-report measures. Facial expressions to video clips depicting sad, happy and frustrated infants were also recorded.
No significant differences between groups were observed in the attentional response to infant photographs. However, there was a trend for patients to disengage from happy faces. People with EDs also reported lower positive ratings of happy infant displays and greater subjective negative reactions to sad infants. Finally, patients showed a significantly lower production of facial expressions, especially in response to the happy infant video clip. Insecure attachment was negatively correlated with positive facial expressions displayed in response to the happy infant and positively correlated with the intensity of negative emotions experienced in response to the sad infant video clip.
People with EDs do not have marked abnormalities in their attentional processing of infant emotional faces. However, they do have a reduction in facial affect particularly in response to happy infants. Also, they report greater negative reactions to sadness, and rate positive emotions less intensively than HCs. This pattern of emotional responsivity suggests abnormalities in social reward sensitivity and might indicate new treatment targets.
Expression of emotional state is considered to be a core facet of an individual's emotional competence. Emotional processing in BN has not been often studied and has not been considered from a broad perspective. This study aimed at examining the implicit and explicit emotional expression in BN patients, in the acute state and after recovery. Sixty-three female participants were included: 22 BN, 22 recovered BN (R-BN), and 19 healthy controls (HC). The clinical cases were drawn from consecutive admissions and diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria. Self reported (explicit) emotional expression was measured with State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Symptom Check List-90 items-Revised. Emotional facial expression (implicit) was recorded by means of an integrated camera (by detecting Facial Feature Tracking), during a 20 minutes therapeutic video game. In the acute illness explicit emotional expression [anxiety (p<0.001) and anger (p<0.05)] was increased. In the recovered group this was decreased to an intermediate level between the acute illness and healthy controls [anxiety (p<0.001) and anger (p<0.05)]. In the implicit measurement of emotional expression patients with acute BN expressed more joy (p<0.001) and less anger (p<0.001) than both healthy controls and those in the recovered group. These findings suggest that there are differences in the implicit and explicit emotional processing in BN, which is significantly reduced after recovery, suggesting an improvement in emotional regulation.
Anorexia nervosa (AN), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) are often co-morbid; however, the aetiology of such co-morbidity has not been well investigated. This study examined brain activation in women with AN and in healthy control (HC) women during the provocation of symmetry/ordering-related anxiety. During provocation, patients with AN showed more anxiety compared to HCs, which was correlated with the severity of symmetry/ordering symptoms. Activation in the right parietal lobe and right prefrontal cortex (rPFC) in response to provocation was reduced in the AN group compared with the HC group. The reduced right parietal activation observed in the AN group is consistent with parietal lobe involvement in visuospatial cognition and with studies of OCD reporting an association between structural abnormalities in this region and the severity of ‘ordering’ symptoms. Reduced rPFC activation in response to symmetry/ordering provocation has similarities with some, but not all, data collected from patients with AN who were exposed to images of food and bodies. Furthermore, the combination of data from the AN and HC groups showed that rPFC activation during symptom provocation was inversely correlated with the severity of symmetry/ordering symptoms. These data suggest that individuals with AN have a diminished ability to cognitively deal with illness-associated symptoms of provocation. Furthermore, our data also suggest that symptom provocation can progressively overload attempts by the rPFC to exert cognitive control. These findings are discussed in the context of the current neurobiological models of AN.
A large proportion of university students show symptoms of common mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders and eating disorders. Novel interventions are required that target underlying factors of multiple disorders.
To evaluate the efficacy of a transdiagnostic trait-focused web-based intervention aimed at reducing symptoms of common mental disorders in university students.
Students were recruited online (n = 1047, age: M = 21.8, SD = 4.2) and categorised into being at high or low risk for mental disorders based on their personality traits. Participants were allocated to a cognitive-behavioural trait-focused (n = 519) or a control intervention (n = 528) using computerised simple randomisation. Both interventions were fully automated and delivered online (trial registration: ISRCTN14342225). Participants were blinded and outcomes were self-assessed at baseline, at 6 weeks and at 12 weeks after registration. Primary outcomes were current depression and anxiety, assessed on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD7). Secondary outcome measures focused on alcohol use, disordered eating, and other outcomes.
Students at high risk were successfully identified using personality indicators and reported poorer mental health. A total of 520 students completed the 6-week follow-up and 401 students completed the 12-week follow-up. Attrition was high across intervention groups, but comparable to other web-based interventions. Mixed effects analyses revealed that at 12-week follow up the trait-focused intervention reduced depression scores by 3.58 (p<.001, 95%CI [5.19, 1.98]) and anxiety scores by 2.87 (p = .018, 95%CI [1.31, 4.43]) in students at high risk. In high-risk students, between group effect sizes were 0.58 (depression) and 0.42 (anxiety). In addition, self-esteem was improved. No changes were observed regarding the use of alcohol or disordered eating.
This study suggests that a transdiagnostic web-based intervention for university students targeting underlying personality risk factors may be a promising way of preventing common mental disorders with a low-intensity intervention.
Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that is involved in social emotional processing. A leading hypothesis is that oxytocin facilitates positive prosocial behaviors; the peptide may also play a more general role in inhibiting withdrawal-related social behaviors. The present study examined these possibilities.
A double-blind, placebo controlled crossover design was used with 31 healthy women. Forty-five minutes following the administration of 40 IU of intranasal oxytocin or a placebo, the participants were presented with two dot probe tests with pairs of face stimuli depicting emotional and neutral faces in adults.
Oxytocin specifically reduced the attention bias toward the location of the faces of adults showing negative emotions, particularly in the case of disgust. Oxytocin did not enhance the attentional bias toward adult happy faces. The effect of oxytocin toward adult negative emotion was correlated with the sensitivity of the drive in the behavioral motivational system.
Oxytocin reduces attention to negative social emotions in adults, which supports oxytocin serves to inhibit withdrawal-related social behaviour.
Oxytocin; Emotion; Dot-probe task; Women
The aim of this study was to examine longitudinal patterns of growth trajectories in children of women with eating disorders (ED): anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).
Prospective longitudinal birth cohort; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
South West England, UK.
The sample consisted of women and their children (n=10 190) from ALSPAC. Patterns of growth among children of women reporting a history of AN (n=137), BN (n=165), both AN and BN (n=68) and other psychiatric disorders (n=920) were compared with an unexposed group of children (n=8900).
Main outcome measures
Height and weight data, from birth to 10 years, were extracted from health visitor records, parental report from questionnaires and clinic attendances. Growth trajectories were analysed using mixed-effects models and constructed separately for male and female children.
Between birth and 10 years, male children of women with BN were taller than children in the unexposed group. Male children of women with a history of AN and BN, and female children of women with AN, were shorter throughout childhood. Between the ages of 2 and 5, higher body mass index (BMI) was observed in male children in all maternal ED groups. Conversely, female children of women with AN had a BMI of −0.35 kg/m2 lower at 2 years compared with the unexposed group, with catch-up by age 10.
Early childhood growth has been found to predict weight gain in adolescence and adulthood, and may be a risk factor for the development of an ED. These findings therefore have public health implications in relation to the prevention of weight-related and eating-related disorders later in life.
Epidemiology; Psychiatry; Public Health
Background and aim
Social factors may be of importance causally and act as maintenance factors in patients with anorexia nervosa. Oxytocin is a neuromodulatory hormone involved in social emotional processing associated with attentional processes. This study aimed to examine the impact of oxytocin on attentional processes to social faces representing anger, disgust, and happiness in patients with anorexia nervosa.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover design was used. Intranasal oxytocin or placebo followed by a visual probe detection task with faces depicting anger, disgust, and happiness was administered to 64 female subjects: 31 patients with anorexia nervosa and 33 control students.
Attentional bias to the disgust stimuli was observed in both groups under the placebo condition. The attentional bias to disgust was reduced under the oxytocin condition (a moderate effect in the patient group). Avoidance of angry faces was observed in the patient group under the placebo condition and vigilance was observed in the healthy comparison group; both of these information processing responses were moderated by oxytocin producing an increase in vigilance in the patients. Happy/smiling faces did not elicit an attentional response in controls or the patients under either the placebo or oxytocin conditions.
Oxytocin attenuated attentional vigilance to disgust in patients with anorexia nervosa and healthy controls. On the other hand, oxytocin changed the response to angry faces from avoidance to vigilance in patients but reduced vigilance to anger in healthy controls. We conclude that patients with anorexia nervosa appear to use different strategies/circuits to emotionally process anger from their healthy counterparts.
Women with eating disorders have a significantly higher prevalence of substance use disorders than the general population. The goal of the current study was to assess the temporal pattern of comorbid anorexia nervosa (AN) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) and the impact this ordering has on symptomatology and associated features. Women were placed into one of three groups based on the presence or absence of comorbid AUD and the order of AN and AUD onset in those with both disorders: (1) AN Only, (2) AN First, and (3) AUD First. The groups were compared on psychological symptoms and personality characteristics often associated with AN, AUD, or both using general linear models. Twenty-one percent of women (n = 161) with AN reported a history of AUD with 115 reporting AN onset first and 35 reporting AUD onset first. Women with binge-eating and/or purging type AN were significantly more likely to have AUD. In general, differences were found only between women with AN Only and women with AN and AUD regardless of order of emergence. Women with AN and AUD had higher impulsivity scores and higher prevalence of depression and borderline personality disorder than women with AN Only. Women with AN First scored higher on traits commonly associated with AN, whereas women with comorbid AN and AUD displayed elevations in traits more commonly associated with AUD. Results do not indicate a distinct pattern of symptomatology in comorbid AN and AUD based on the temporal sequence of the disorders.
anorexia nervosa; alcohol use disorder; comorbidity; age of onset
Background and Aim
Recent studies in patients with anorexia nervosa suggest that oxytocin may be involved in the pathophysiology of anorexia nervosa. We examined whether there was evidence of variation in methylation status of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene in patients with anorexia nervosa that might account for these findings.
We analyzed the methylation status of the CpG sites in a region from the exon 1 to the MT2 regions of the OXTR gene in buccal cells from 15 patients and 36 healthy women using bisulfite sequencing. We further examined whether methylation status was associated with markers of illness severity or form.
We identified six CpG sites with significant differences in average methylation levels between the patient and control groups. Among the six differentially methylated CpG sites, five showed higher than average methylation levels in patients than those in the control group (64.9–88.8% vs. 6.6–45.0%). The methylation levels of these five CpG sites were negatively associated with body mass index (BMI). BMI, eating disorders psychopathology, and anxiety were identified in a regression analysis as factors affecting the methylation levels of these CpG sites with more variation accounted for by BMI.
Epigenetic misregulation of the OXTR gene may be implicated in anorexia nervosa, which may either be a mechanism linking environmental adversity to risk or may be a secondary consequence of the illness.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P= 4×10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
This study aimed to assess differences in Quality of Life (QoL) across eating disorder (ED) diagnoses, and to examine the relationship of QoL to specific clinical features.
199 patients with a diagnosed ED completed the Clinical Impairment Assessment (CIA) [Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders, 315–318, 2008] and the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) [Int J Eat Disord 6:1–8]. Differences between diagnostic groups were examined, as were differences between restrictive and binge-purge subtypes.
CIA scores and EDE scores were positively correlated and higher in groups with binge-purge behaviours. CIA scores were not correlated with BMI, illness duration or frequency of bingeing/purging behaviours, except in the binge-purge AN group, where CIA scores negatively correlated with BMI.
Patients with EDs have poor QoL and impairment increases with illness severity. Patients with binge/purge diagnoses are particularly impaired. It remains unclear which clinical features best predict the degree of impairment experienced by patients with EDs.
Eating disorders; Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Clinical impairment assessment; Functional impairment; Quality of life
The objectives of this study were to explore associations between autistic traits and self-reported clinical symptoms in a population with anorexia nervosa (AN). Experimental and self-report evidence reveals similarities between AN and autism spectrum condition (ASC) populations in socio-emotional and cognitive domains; this includes difficulties with empathy, set-shifting and global processing. Focusing on these similarities may lead to better tailored interventions for both conditions.
A cross-sectional independent-groups design was employed. Participants with AN (n = 66) and typical controls (n = 66) completed self-report questionnaires including the Short (10-Item) Version Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ-10) questionnaire (the first time this has been implemented in this population), the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale. Group differences and the relationship between autistic traits and other questionnaire measures were investigated.
The AN group had a significantly higher AQ-10 total score and a greater proportion scored above the clinical cut-off than the control group. Seven out of ten AQ-10 items significantly discriminated between groups. In the AN group, levels of autistic traits correlated with a greater self-reported anxiety and depression and a lower ability to maintain close relationships; however, eating disorder symptoms were not associated with autistic traits.
Women with anorexia possess a greater number of autistic traits than typical women. AQ-10 items that discriminated between groups related to ‘bigger picture’ (global) thinking, inflexibility of thinking and problems with social interactions, suggesting that autistic traits may exacerbate factors that maintain the eating disorder rather than cause the eating disorder directly. Using screening instruments may improve understanding of patients’ problems, leading to better tailoring of intervention. We conclude that further investigation of autistic traits in AN could inform new intervention approaches based on joint working between ASC and eating disorder services.
Anorexia nervosa; Autism spectrum conditions; Set-shifting; Detail focus; Theory of mind; Intervention
Individual, family and service level characteristics and outcomes are described for adult and adolescent patients receiving specialist inpatient or day patient treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN). Potential predictors of treatment outcome are explored.
Admission and discharge data were collected from patients admitted at 14 UK hospital treatment units for AN over a period of three years (adult units N = 12; adolescent N = 2) (patients N = 177).
One hundred and seventy-seven patients with a severe and enduring illness with wide functional impairment took part in the study. Following inpatient care, physical improvement was moderate/good with a large increase in BMI, although most patients continued to have a clinical level of eating disorder symptoms at discharge. The potentially modifiable predictors of outcome included confidence to change, social functioning and carer expressed emotion and control.
Overall, the response to inpatient treatment was modest particularly in the group with a severe enduring form of illness. Adolescents had a better response. Although inpatient treatment produces an improvement in physical health there was less improvement in other eating disorder and mood symptoms. As predicted by the carer interpersonal maintenance model, carer behaviour may influence the response to inpatient care, as may improved social functioning and confidence to change.
Eating disorders; Anorexia Nervosa; Inpatients; Treatment response; Predictors; Treatment
To examine childhood perfectionism in anorexia nervosa (AN) restricting (RAN), purging (PAN), and binge eating with or without purging (BAN) subtypes.
The EATATE, a retrospective assessment of childhood perfectionism, and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2) were administered to 728 AN participants.
EATATE responses revealed General Childhood Perfectionism, 22.3% of 333 with RAN, 29.2% of 220 with PAN, and 24.8% of 116 with BAN; School Work Perfectionism, 31.2% with RAN, 30.4% with PAN, and 24.8% with BAN; Childhood Order and Symmetry, 18.7% with RAN, 21.7% with PAN, and 17.8% with BAN; and Global Childhood Rigidity, 42.6% with RAN, 48.3% with PAN and 48.1% with BAN. Perfectionism preceded the onset of AN in all subtypes. Significant associations between EDI-2 Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction were present with four EATATE subscales.
Global Childhood Rigidity was the predominate feature that preceded all AN subtypes. This may be a risk factor for AN.
Supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), this 12-site international collaboration seeks to identify genetic variants that affect risk for anorexia nervosa (AN).
Four hundred families will be ascertained with two or more individuals affected with AN. The assessment battery produces a rich set of phenotypes comprising eating disorder diagnoses and psychological and personality features known to be associated with vulnerability to eating disorders.
We report attributes of the first 200 families, comprising 200 probands and 232 affected relatives.
These results provide context for the genotyping of the first 200 families by the Center for Inherited Disease Research. We will analyze our first 200 families for linkage, complete recruitment of roughly 400 families, and then perform final linkage analyses on the complete cohort. DNA, genotypes, and phenotypes will form a national eating disorder repository maintained by NIMH and available to qualified investigators.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; bulimia nervosa; psychiatric disorders; genetics; linkage analysis; genomics
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (BN) are rare, but eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are relatively common among female participants. Our objective was to evaluate whether BN and subtypes of EDNOS are predictive of developing adverse outcomes.
This study comprised a prospective analysis of 8594 female participants from the ongoing Growing Up Today Study. Questionnaires were sent annually from 1996 through 2001, then biennially through 2007 and 2008. Participants who were 9 to 15 years of age in 1996 and completed at least 2 consecutive questionnaires between 1996 and 2008 were included in the analyses. Participants were classified as having BN (≥weekly binge eating and purging), binge eating disorder (BED; ≥weekly binge eating, infrequent purging), purging disorder (PD; ≥weekly purging, infrequent binge eating), other EDNOS (binge eating and/or purging monthly), or nondisordered.
BN affected ∼1% of adolescent girls; 2% to 3% had PD and another 2% to 3% had BED. Girls with BED were almost twice as likely as their nondisordered peers to become overweight or obese (odds ratio [OR]: 1.9 [95% confidence interval: 1.0–3.5]) or develop high depressive symptoms (OR: 2.3 [95% confidence interval: 1.0–5.0]). Female participants with PD had a significantly increased risk of starting to use drugs (OR: 1.7) and starting to binge drink frequently (OR: 1.8).
PD and BED are common and predict a range of adverse outcomes. Primary care clinicians should be made aware of these disorders, which may be underrepresented in eating disorder clinic samples. Efforts to prevent eating disorders should focus on cases of subthreshold severity.
adolescents; eating disorders; epidemiology; obesity; substance use