Formerly obese teenagers at risk of developing eating disorders

Washington: A new study has found that obese teenagers, who lose weight, are at risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Mayo Clinic researchers argued that formerly overweight adolescents tend to have more medical complications from eating disorders and it takes longer to diagnose them than kids who are in a normal weight range. This is problematic because early intervention is the key to a good prognosis, Leslie Sim, lead author of the study, said.

“Given research that suggests early intervention promotes best chance of recovery, it is imperative that these children and adolescents```` eating disorder symptoms are identified and intervention is offered before the disease progresses,” Sim said.

This report analyzed two examples of eating disorders that developed in the process of obese adolescents```` efforts to reduce their weight. Both cases illustrate specific challenges in the identification of eating disorder behaviors in adolescents with this weight history and the corresponding delay such teenagers experience accessing appropriate treatment.

At least 6 percent of adolescents suffer from eating disorders, and more than 55 percent of high school females and 30 percent of males report disordered eating symptoms including engaging in one or more maladaptive behaviors to induce weight loss.

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.


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