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Eating patterns in youth with restricting and binge eating/purging type anorexia nervosa

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To describe eating patterns in youth with restricting and binge/purge type anorexia nervosa (AN) and to examine whether eating patterns are associated with binge eating or purging behaviors.


Participants included 160 children and adolescents (M = 15.14 ± 2.17 years) evaluated at The University of Chicago Eating Disorders Program who met criteria for DSM-5 restrictive type AN (AN-R; 75%; n = 120) or binge eating/purging type AN (AN-BE/P; 25%; n = 40). All participants completed the eating disorder examination on initial evaluation.


Youth with AN-R and AN-BE/P differed in their eating patterns, such that youth with AN-R consumed meals and snacks more regularly relative to youth with AN-BE/P. Among youth with AN-BE/P, skipping dinner was associated with a greater number of binge eating episodes (r = -.379, p < .05), while skipping breakfast was associated with a greater number of purging episodes (r = -.309, p < .05).


Youth with AN-R generally follow a regular meal schedule, but are likely consuming insufficient amounts of food across meals and snacks. In contrast, youth with AN-BE/P tend to have more irregular eating patterns, which may play a role in binge eating and purging behaviors. Adults monitoring of meals may be beneficial for youth with AN, and particularly those with AN-BE/P who engage in irregular eating patterns.

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