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Eating Disorders Linked to Negative Physical Health

Findings show doubling of odds of physical multimorbidity with eating disorder

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Eating disorders are associated with a significant increase in the risk for physical multimorbidity, according to a study recently published online in Eating and Weight Disorders.

Lee Smith, from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (7,403 participants aged 16 years and older) to examine the relationship between eating disorders and physical multimorbidity. 

The researchers found that when adjusting for other factors, possible eating disorder was associated with 2.11 times higher odds for physical multimorbidity. The largest proportion of this association was explained by anxiety disorder (mediated percentage, 26.3 percent), followed by insomnia (21.8 percent), perceived stress (13.4 percent), depression (13.1 percent), obesity (13.0 percent), and alcohol dependence (4.3 percent). 

“This research underscores the complex interplay between mental and physical health. It is essential to recognize that eating disorders can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only emotional well-being but also physical health,” Smith said in a statement. “Understanding the role of potential mediators in this relationship is crucial for developing effective interventions.” 

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