-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- A lack of support
following traumatic life events such as relationship problems, the
loss of a loved one, abuse and sexual assault can trigger eating
disorders, a small new study finds.
People with eating disorders said even changing schools or jobs
could trigger eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia,
according to the University of Minnesota researchers.
The study included 26 women and one man aged 17 to 64 (the
median age was 27) who had suffered from eating disorders for an
average of 20 years and were receiving treatment from a specialist
Nine of the patients had anorexia, three had bulimia, one had
both, and the other 14 had eating disorders that did not meet the
diagnostic criteria for any one specific condition.
The researchers identified six main factors that triggered
eating disorders in these patients. They included:
The study appears in the May issue of the
Journal of Clinical Nursing.
"The aim of our study was to find out if there was any link between transitional events in family life and the onset of eating disorders," lead author Jerica Berge, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and community health, said in a journal news release.
"Eating disorders are an important public health issue and knowing what causes them can help us to develop more effective treatment and support," she said.
The study findings confirm that eating disorders can be caused
by major life changes and lack of support in dealing with those
"We hope that our findings will be of interest to parents as well as health professionals as they underline the need for greater awareness and support at times of change and stress," Berge said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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