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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAlbany: Eating Disorders Significantly Associated with Medical Conditions

Dr. Tomoko Udo recently studied anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder in relation to comorbid medical conditions, finding that adults with lifetime diagnosis of eating disorders were at a significantly greater risk for reporting other psychiatric disorders and somatic conditions. This was the first U.S.-based national study to extensively evaluate medical conditions associated with eating disorders since the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” was published in 2013.

The study utilized the data from 36,309 adults who took part in the 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III. Dr. Udo found that all three eating disorders were significantly associated with lifetime mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use disorders, and personality disorders. For all three eating disorders, major depressive disorder was the most prevalent, followed by alcohol use disorder.

Anorexia nervosa was significantly associated with fibromyalgia, cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis and binge-eating disorder was significantly associated with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and triglycerides. Bulimia nervosa was not significantly associated with any somatic conditions.

Since all three eating disorders were associated with other medical conditions, it is important that further study takes place to better understand the burden eating disorders place on our society. In-depth results of Dr. Udo’s study can be found in the January 2019 International Journal of Eating Disorders.