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Eat Weight Disord. 2011 Mar;16(1):e1-8.

How do eating disorder patients eat after treatment? Dietary habits and eating behaviour three years after entering treatment.

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Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Child and Adolescent Public Health Epidemiology Group, Stockholm, Sweden.



Improvements in psychological symptoms and weight have often been demonstrated following eating disorder (ED) treatment, but it is not clear to what extent eating behaviour itself is normalised. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate dietary habits and eating behaviour in ED patients three years after entering treatment.


ED patients (N=70) were divided into those who had recovered (N=36), and those who still suffered from bulimic (N=18) or anorexic (N=16) psychopathology. Patients were compared to a female normal control group of similar age (N=61), and assessments were made on a dietary questionnaire, as well as the BDI, EDI-2, SASB and SCL-90.


With some notable exceptions eating patterns in recovered patients resembled those of controls. Dieting was most evident in recovered and current bulimic patients, while restrictive eating and vegetarianism was found in recovered or current anorexic patients. A majority of the patients with ongoing EDs avoided fatty foods.


Risk behaviours such as restrictive eating, dieting and food avoidance, may have an important impact on relapse rates, and it may therefore be imperative to continue to monitor eating behaviour in ED patients following treatment termination to ensure better long-term outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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