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Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2010 May-Jun;138(5-6):328-32.

Presence of different forms of compensatory behaviours among eating disordered patients.

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  • 1Nutrition Counseling Department, Institute of Hygiene and Medical Ecology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.



Eating disorders indicate unhealthy habits in nutrition and/or behaviour in the feeding and maintaining of body weight. The main characteristic of these diseases is changed behaviour in nutrition, either as an intentional restriction of food, namely extreme dieting or overeating, i.e. binge eating. Extreme dieting, skipping meals, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, and misuse of laxatives and diuretics for the purpose of maintaining or reducing body weight are the forms of compensatory behaviour.


The purpose of the present research was to determine the presence of different inappropriate compensatory behaviours among eating disordered patients.


The experimental group included 35 female eating disordered patients of 23.02 +/- 3.46 years on average, with anorexia or bulimia nervosa. The control group consisted of 70 girls aged 23.1 +/- 3.0 years on average. Each participant completed a "24-hour Recall Questionnaire" and the "Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale".


A high statistically significant difference existed in the presence of all compensatory behaviours in the experimental and control group, regarding vomiting (chi2 = 40.6; p < 0.001), misuse of laxatives and diuretics (chi2 = 33.7; p < 0.001), extreme dieting (chi2 = 23.4; p < 0.001) and excessive exercising (chi2 = 27.1; p < 0.001).


Eating disordered patients showed a significantly higher incidence of all evaluated forms of compensatory behaviour in comparison with the control group. This report confirms the presence of specific symptomatology of anorexia and bulimia patients.

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