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Int J Eat Disord. 2019 Mar;52(3):314-318. doi: 10.1002/eat.23030. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Menopausal status and disordered eating and body image concerns among middle-aged women.

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Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.



Eating disorders are present among middle-aged women, yet most eating disorder knowledge comes from adolescents and young adults. There is arguably a need for research specific to middle-aged women and eating pathology. One biological factor that may contribute to eating disorder symptoms and is unique to middle-aged women is menopause, given the changes in body shape and weight that direct women's bodies away from the young, thin beauty standard.


This study explored group differences in disordered eating and body image by menopausal status. Participants were 310 middle-aged women between the ages of 40 and 68. They completed an online survey about their menopausal status, disordered eating, and body image concerns. We compared disordered eating behaviors and attitudes across three groups: premenopausal women, perimenopausal women, and postmenopausal women.


Results indicated no group differences on either disordered eating or body image concerns by menopausal status.


These findings suggest the perimenopausal period may not be a window of vulnerability for women in general. Given these mixed findings, future research should examine moderators to determine when there are menopausal status group differences on eating pathology.


body image concerns; disordered eating; menopause; middle-aged women


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