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J Psychosom Res. 2002 Oct;53(4):943-9.

Eating disorders in young women with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Psychiatry, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Research findings from the past decade regarding the association of type 1 diabetes mellitus and eating disorders are critically reviewed in this paper. Although there has been much debate regarding the specificity of this association, a recent large multisite case-controlled study demonstrated that the prevalence rates of both full syndrome and subthreshold eating disorders among adolescent and young adult women with diabetes are twice as high as in their nondiabetic peers. Further, a 4-year follow-up study showed that disordered eating behavior in young women with diabetes often persists and is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of diabetic retinopathy. These eating disturbances tend to be associated with impaired family functioning and with poor diabetes management. Health care professionals should maintain a high index of suspicion for the presence of an eating disturbance among young women with diabetes, particularly among those with persistently poor metabolic control and/or weight and shape concerns. Screening for such disturbances should begin during the prepubertal period among girls with diabetes. A brief psychoeducational intervention leads to a reduction in disturbed eating attitudes and behavior but is not sufficient to improve metabolic control. More intensive treatment approaches, which should include a family-based component, may be needed to improve metabolic control. The evaluation of these and other treatment approaches is indicated in view of the serious short- and long-term health risks associated with eating disorders in young women with diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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