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J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 May;111(5):732-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.02.002.

Food choice and diet variety in weight-restored patients with anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Eating Disorders Research Unit, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Anorexia nervosa is a serious psychiatric illness associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Weight-restored females with anorexia nervosa with limited diet variety, assessed by a diet variety score, have been reported to have poor outcomes. Using the same patient cohort, the objective of the current study was to provide a detailed description of the types of foods from which patients restrict variety in their diets. Forty-one weight-restored patients, hospitalized between June 2000 and July 2005, who completed a 4-day food record before discharge were followed for up to 1 year. Patient outcomes were categorized as a success (n=29) or failure (n=12) using Morgan-Russell criteria. Although the total number of foods selected did not differ between the success and failure groups (73±14 vs 74±13, respectively; P=0.741), a significant difference in the total number of different foods was observed: the failure group selected fewer and the success group selected more (43±9 vs 51±7; P=0.005). Outcomes groups also differed significantly in the variety of foods selected from 5 of 17 food groups. Results suggest that a diet limited in total variety and specifically limited in variety from five food groups may be associated with relapse in patients with anorexia nervosa.

Copyright © 2011 American Dietetic Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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