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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Jul;18(7):1081-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1174.

Comparing the health burden of eating-disordered behavior and overweight in women.

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  • 1School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, Australia. j.mond@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

We compared the health burden of eating-disordered behavior with that of overweight in a community-based sample of women aged 18-42 years residing in the Australian Capital Territory region of Australia. Participants (n = 4643) completed self-report measures of eating disorder psychopathology, health-related quality of life and health service utilization. Body mass index (BMI) was derived from self-reported height and weight.

RESULTS:

Overweight was associated with marked impairment in physical health functioning and comparatively little impairment in psychosocial functioning, whereas eating-disordered behavior was associated with marked impairment in psychosocial functioning and comparatively little impairment in physical health functioning. Further, (1) impairment in psychosocial functioning associated with eating-disordered behavior was greater than impairment in physical health functioning associated with overweight, and (2) impairment in physical health functioning associated with eating-disordered behavior was greater than impairment in psychosocial functioning associated with overweight. Overweight and eating-disordered behavior were associated with similarly elevated rates of primary care consultations during the past 6 months and of lifetime treatment from a health professional for an eating or weight problem.

CONCLUSIONS:

In young adult women, the health burden of eating-disordered behavior may be more substantial than previously recognized. Better information concerning the spectrum of disordered eating that exists at the population level needs to be made available. Eating-disordered behavior warrants greater attention when considering the public health burden of obesity and in developing programs to reduce this burden.

PMID:
19563246
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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