Factors Help Predict Eating Disorders in Diabetes

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE, COLO. -- Significant predictors of the onset of disturbed eating behavior within the next several years in girls with type 1 diabetes include concerns with weight and shape, a higher body mass index, depressive symptoms, and poor self-esteem--both globally and specifically with regard to physical appearance, according to a new prospective study.

These are the factors to look out for in clinical practice. Collectively they explained 48% of the variance between young adolescent girls with diabetes who went on to manifest disturbed eating behavior within the next 5 years and those who didn't, Dr. Denis Daneman said at a conference on the management of diabetes in youth.

The study findings raise the possibility that early interventions focused on helping girls who have diabetes develop positive feelings about themselves might protect against later development of disturbed eating behavior.

This hypothesis, however, requires testing, particularly in light of the fact that no successful strategies for the prevention of eating disorders in adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes have been reported to date.

Moreover, treatment of eating disorders in this population of girls with type 1 diabetes has proved extremely difficult, much more so than in patients without diabetes, according to Dr. Daneman, who serves as professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Toronto and pediatrician-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children.

The prospective study involved 126 girls with type 1 diabetes who were enrolled at ages 9-13 years at the pediatric hospital and followed for 5 years. They were interviewed annually using the validated, semistructured Eating Disorder Examination.

The study was designed to identify predictors of disturbed eating behavior by following girls as they moved into the peak years of disturbed eating behavior onset, which is ages 15-25, according to Dr. …

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