Eating Disorders

Key Points

• When considering a diagnosis of feeding disorder, consultation with a physician familiar with growth problems in children may be necessary because of the extensive differential diagnosis.

• Long-term mortality for anorexia nervosa is 6% to 20%, the highest rate for any psychiatric disorder.

• The most useful measure to assess for extreme weight loss in adolescents is age-adjusted BMI less than the fifth percentile.

• For anorexia nervosa, vomiting is a poor prognostic feature, as is purgative use for bulimia nervosa.

• Patients with eating disorders should be managed by a multidisciplinary team that includes a primary physician, mental health professional, and nutritionist.

The most common and most serious eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, typically have their onset in adolescence. However, several eating problems are associated with infants and children as well.

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