Female Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes Prone to Eating Disorders

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By: Jan Chait

With the necessary emphasis on food, is it any wonder that many people with diabetes have eating disorders? Female adolescents who have type 1 diabetes but do not have a supportive family are particularly vulnerable to practicing unhealthy weight control habits, say researchers from Minnesota who studied 70 adolescent females and 73 adolescent males with type 1.

Among this group, 37.9 percent of the females and 15.9 percent of the males reported engaging in unhealthy weight control practices. Skipping meals was the method most frequently used to control weight, followed by the healthier choice of eating less food. In addition, 10.3 percent of the females said they skipped insulin, and 7.4 percent said they took less insulin for weight control. Only one of the males reported either of those behaviors.

Having a supportive family resulted in fewer eating disorders, the researchers observe. They found no significant correlation between unhealthy eating habits and other aspects of family environment, such as control, independence and responsibility for diabetes management.

Diabetes Care, August 2002

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