This overview considers causes of disordered eating, including eating disorders, in older people. Eating disorders are becoming more common in older adults and research has shown a related mortality of 21%. The wide range of medical and pharmacological causes of weight loss in older people means that eating disorders may go undetected, occurring insidiously and surreptitiously.
• Be aware of the numerous causes of weight loss in older people, and understand that eating disorders are not about weight but about control
• Appreciate that physical and mental health problems and polypharmacy affect eating and weight
• Understand that successful management focuses on a combination of pharmacological and behavioural interventions
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