Maternal history of eating disorders affects daughters’ risks
Girls born to mothers with eating disorders (EDs) are significantly more prone to developing ED symptoms and receiving relevant treatment, a recent study has found.
Drawing from the Growing Up Today Study, researchers obtained relevant data on 3,649 females (mean age at baseline, 11.6±1.6 years), of whom 28.3 percent had shown symptoms of any ED. Among the EDs examined were anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge ED, and other specified feeding or ED (OSFED) in at least 1 year; 4.8 percent received professional diagnoses.
Participants whose mothers had had EDs were significantly more likely to meet the criteria for being positive for symptoms of bulimia nervosa (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.82, 95 percent CI, 1.44–5.54), binge ED (adjusted OR, 1.77, 1.10–2.83) and OSFED (adjusted OR, 1.77, 1.28–2.46). No such effect was reported for anorexia nervosa.
Conversely, 10.2 percent of the women who reported undergoing treatment for ED had mothers with a history of the disease, as compared to only 4.5 percent of those who were not receiving treatment (p<0.001). Particularly, among the participants who fulfilled the criteria of any ED or OSFED, those with maternal ED histories were more than twice as likely to receive treatment.
Treatment rates for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge ED and OSFED were 20.7 percent, 46.4 percent, 12.1 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively. Seventy-five percent of participants who had been professionally diagnosed sought treatment.