Eating Disorders Common in Women Over 50

Eating disorders may be common among women over 50, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina, busting the stereotype that purging and excessive dieting was exclusively a province of teenage girls and young women.

The UNC team studied more than 1,800 women over age 50 for the study. They concluded that 70 percent were in the process of dieting, 62 percent of them reported their weight negatively affected their lives, and 8 percent reported purging.

This study “really busts the myths that disordered eating is the province of adolescent and young adult women,” said Dr. Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program and lead author of the study.  “We have very little clinical research on mid- and late-life eating disorders.  The most important thing for clinicians is to keep eating disorders on their radar screen regardless of a patient’s age.”

The women reported using unhealthy methods to deal with weight, such as diet pills, diuretics, laxatives, vomiting and excessive exercise.

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