Three recent studies on eating disorders show new trends in prevalence of eating disorders internationally and new comorbidities of eating disorders in the United States.
A study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that 16% of boys and 10% of girls ages 10 to 18 had vomited in order to lose weight. Younger children were more likely to report inducing vomiting to lose weight, as 16% of 10 to 12 years olds vomited to lose weight compared to 15% of 13 to 15 year olds and 8% of 16-18 year olds. Self-induced vomiting was more common in adolescents with a sedentary lifestyle, who slept less and who ate unhealthily. Using a computer screen for more than two hours a day, eating fried food everyday and having nighttime snacks increased the odds of vomiting.
Another recent study from the University of North Texas found that pressure from peers to be thin accounts for a significant amount of lost sleep for white female adolescents. Author Katherine Marczyk said “There is a significant amount of research on other areas regarding pressure on adolescent females to minimize body weight, but this pressure as it relates to sleep health is a less-explored topic and its consequences are mostly unknown.”
The Journal of Women’s Health published a study this month on the relationship between pregnancy related depression and eating disorders. A survey of women receiving treatment in a perinatal psychology clinic found that one third of patients reported a history of eating disorders. Postpartum depression has serious consequences for both mothers and their children. Author Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody stated “Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop mental health problems, and children of mothers with an active eating disorder may also be more likely to develop an eating disorder themselves.” The authors also note that pregnancy is a key time for mental health screenings and for helping women get access to mental health treatment services.
Dr. Lucene Wisniewski of the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders recently gave a talk on current best practices for girls with eating disorders as a part of the Schubert Center’s Girlhood Series. A policy brief on her talk can be downloaded here. Schubert Center Faculty Associate Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye joined discussants from the Cleveland Clinic and the University School to talk about her work studying eating disorders in adolescent girls in Belize.