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Psychol Med. 1988 Nov;18(4):947-51.

Mortality in eating disorders.

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  • 1Academic Department of Psychiatry, Royal Free Hospital, London.


Crude mortality rates and mortality rates standardized against a British reference population have been calculated for a group of 460 consecutive patients with eating disorders seen between 1971 and 1981 in a tertiary referral centre for eating disorders. Crude mortality rates were 3.3% and 3.1% in the anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa groups respectively. Standardized rates demonstrated a six-fold increase in mortality in the anorexia nervosa group. The most common cause of death in this group was found to be suicide, with the risk of death remaining high for at least eight years after initial assessment. Specific associations of increased mortality were: being in the lowest weight group at the time of presentation, and having recurrent hospital admissions for eating problems.

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