Comparing the health burden of eating-disordered behavior and overweight in women

Jonathan M. Mond, Phillipa J. Hay, Bryan Rodgers, Cathy Owen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    39 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective and methods: We compared the health burden of eating-disordered behavior with that of overweight in a community-based sample of women aged 18-42 years residing in the Australian Capital Territory region of Australia. Participants (n=4643) completed self-report measures of eating disorder psychopathology, health-related quality of life and health service utilization. Body mass index (BMI) was derived from self-reported height and weight. Results: Overweight was associated with marked impairment in physical health functioning and comparatively little impairment in psychosocial functioning, whereas eating-disordered behavior was associated with marked impairment in psychosocial functioning and comparatively little impairment in physical health functioning. Further, (1) impairment in psychosocial functioning associated with eating-disordered behavior was greater than impairment in physical health functioning associated with overweight, and (2) impairment in physical health functioning associated with eating-disordered behavior was greater than impairment in psychosocial functioning associated with overweight. Overweight and eating-disordered behavior were associated with similarly elevated rates of primary care consultations during the past 6 months and of lifetime treatment from a health professional for an eating or weight problem. Conclusions: In young adult women, the health burden of eating-disordered behavior may be more substantial than previously recognized. Better information concerning the spectrum of disordered eating that exists at the population level needs to be made available. Eating-disordered behavior warrants greater attention when considering the public health burden of obesity and in developing programs to reduce this burden.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1081-1089
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Women's Health
    Volume18
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009

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