Background. Twin studies have concluded that there is a substantial genetic contribution to the aetiology of eating disorders. The aim of the present study was to estimate the genetic contribution to the aetiology of self-reported eating disorders in a sample of representative twins.
Method. A population cohort of 34142 young Danish twins was screened for eating disorders by a mailed questionnaire.
Results. Concordance rates differed significantly across monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs for broadly defined self-reported anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Heritability estimates of 0·48, 0·52 and 0·61 respectively were estimated for narrow and broad definitions of self-reported anorexia nervosa and for self-reported bulimia nervosa.
Conclusions. There is a genetic contribution to the aetiology of self-reported eating disorders in the general population. The relationship between self-reported and clinical eating disorder remains to be examined.
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