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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2013 May;15(5):428-33. doi: 10.1089/dia.2013.0008. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Disordered eating behaviors in youth with type 1 diabetes: prospective pilot assessment following initiation of insulin pump therapy.

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Pediatric, Adolescent, & Adult Section, Section on Genetics & Epidemiology, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



There is risk for disordered eating behaviors in type 1 diabetes, especially related to insulin manipulation. Implementation of insulin pump therapy may encourage either normalization of eating behaviors or a greater focus on food intake due to renewed emphasis on carbohydrate counting. There is need for prospective studies to assess disordered eating behaviors upon implementation of pump therapy using diabetes-specific measurement tools.


In a multicenter pilot study, 43 youth with type 1 diabetes, 10-17 years old, were assessed prior to pump initiation and after 1 and 6 months of pump therapy. Youth completed the Diabetes-specific Eating Problems Survey-Revised (DEPS-R), a validated measure of risk for both diabetes-specific and general disordered eating behaviors.


Youth (45% female), 13.3 years old with diabetes for 2.1 years, had a mean hemoglobin A1c of 8.3±1.3% (68±14.5 mmol/mol) at baseline. DEPS-R scores decreased over time (P=0.01). Overall rate of high risk for eating disorders was low. Overweight/obese youth endorsed more disordered eating behaviors than normal-weight participants. DEPS-R scores were correlated with z-score for body mass index at all three time points and with hemoglobin A1c after 1 and 6 months. Hemoglobin A1c did not change significantly over the 6 months and was higher in overweight/obese compared with normal-weight participants.


Initiation of insulin pump therapy was associated with diminished endorsement of disordered eating behaviors in youth with type 1 diabetes. Longer follow-up studies are needed to assess the impact of insulin pump therapy on glycemic control, weight status, and disordered eating behaviors in this vulnerable population.

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