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Survey shines light on eating disorders in middle age

February 7, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Research published in the journal BMC Medicine uncovers a larger-than-expected prevalence of eating disorders among women in their 40s and 50s. Many respondents to the study's survey of women in Britain said this was the first time they had spoken to someone about their problem with eating behaviors, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

This led study lead author Nadia Micali to remark, “It may be that there are some barriers women perceive in healthcare access or a lack of awareness among healthcare professionals.”

The study comprised 5,300 women in their 40s and 50s, with 3% reporting having an eating disorder within the past year and 15% saying they had had an eating disorder at some point in their life.

The study also examined potential risk and protective factors for the development of an eating disorder, with higher scores for childhood unhappiness associated with increased risk of anorexia or bulimia, for example. Data for the study were derived from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort.