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Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder in Midlife and Beyond.


We examined eating disorders in midlife and beyond by comparing frequency of anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED) among midlife eating disorder treatment-seeking individuals and younger controls. We also compared demographic and eating disorder-related characteristics across diagnoses and age groups. Participants included 2,118 treatment-seeking adults who self-reported their eating-related symptoms on the Eating Disorder Questionnaire. Results showed that percent of patients with BN was significantly lower whereas percent of patients with BED and OSFED was significantly higher among midlife relative to younger patients. Percent of patients with AN did not differ between midlife and younger patients. Additionally, midlife and younger patients with BED and OSFED differed on several demographic (e.g., marital status) and eating disorder-related characteristics (e.g., BMI, compulsive exercising). This study suggests that BN is less common whereas BED and OSFED are more common among midlife eating disorder treatment-seeking individuals relative to younger controls. In addition, AN and BN present fairly similarly whereas BED and OSFED present fairly differently among midlife patients relative to younger controls. Attention to these differences and similarities is necessary to understand eating disorders in midlife.

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