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Abnormal Eating Attitudes in Young Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

J. M. Steel*
Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh
R. J. Young
Hope Hospital, Salford
G. G. Lloyd
Royal Free Hospital, London
C. C. A. Macintyre
Edinburgh University
Diabetic and Dietetic Department, Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, EH3 9YW


All insulin-dependent diabetics between the ages of 16 and 25 years attending the diabetic clinic at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, (152 women and 139 men) were asked to complete the EAT, the EDI, and the GHQ, and to provide a control subject (sibling or close friend) of similar age who would do likewise. Marked differences were found between diabetic women (but not men) and their controls in eating attitudes, in many of the psychological characteristics associated with eating disorders, and in GHQ scores. Although some of the women had classic anorexia nervosa or bulimia, others with abnormal eating attitudes did not fulfil the formal criteria. Overall, diabetics were significantly heavier than controls but the differences in eating attitudes were not eliminated by correcting for overweight. Abnormal scores were associated with high HbA, levels and independently with retinopathy. The weight gain and psychological effects of diabetes are identified as probably of aetiological importance in the abnormal eating attitudes of young diabetic women.

Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists 1989 

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