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Eating disorders up risk of depression, induced abortion and miscarriage

22 Jul 2017
More Malaysian youth are becoming fixated on their weight and appearance, leading to a rise in eating disorders

Women with eating disorders are highly likely to have low BMI, depression, be a smoker, have miscarriage, bleeding during pregnancy and induced abortion, a new study shows.

A survey of 462 women showed that a history of eating disorders was significantly associated with greater risk of subsequent underweight (odds ratio [OR], 1.80; 95 percent CI, 1.31 to 2.46; p<0.01) and lower risks of being overweight (OR, 0.51; 0.41 to 0.64; p<0.05) or obese (OR, 0.44; 0.31 to 0.62; p<0.05).

Self-reporting of clinical depression was also significantly more common in women with a history of eating disorders (OR, 2.17; 1.88 to 2.49; p<0.05).

Baseline smoking of 1 to <10 pack-years (OR, 1.30; 1.10 to 1.55; p<0.05) and ≥10 pack-years (OR, 1.21; 1.01 to 1.44; p<0.05) were also significantly associated with a history of eating disorders.

Risks of bleeding during pregnancy (OR, 1.37; 1.11 to 1.69; p<0.05), nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (OR, 1.25; 1.08 o 1.45; p<0.05), miscarriage (OR, 1.19; 1.05 to 1.35; p<0.05) and induced abortion (OR, 1.25; 1.05 to 1.50; p<0.05) were higher in women with a history of eating disorders.

Conversely, having bachelor’s (OR, 1.67; 1.41 to 1.98; p<0.05) or graduate degree (OR, 2.13; 1.78 to 2.56; p<0.05), not having enough to eat (OR, 1.30; 1.03 to 1.63; p<0.05), a recent birth cohort (OR, 2.16; 2.01 to 2.32; p<0.05) and a traumatic event during childhood (OR, 1.82; 1.59 to 2.09; p<0.05) all significantly upped the risk of eating disorders.

The study included 462 women included in the Sister Study and who reaffirmed the eating disorders through phone interviews. Of the included participants, 305 reported bulimia nervosa, 206 had anorexia nervosa while 89 had both.

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Pearl Toh, 13 Jan 2018
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