Although the causes of eating disorders remain unclear, epidemiological evidence suggests that peripubertal changes in body shape and weight predispose young women to develop unhealthy eating attitudes. A psychiatric diagnosis of an eating disorder can be made in up to 10% of young women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (type 1 diabetes). Eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, pose a particularly serious risk to health in young diabetic people. Several features associated with type 1 diabetes and its treatment, such as weight gain, dietary restraint and food preoccupation, may predispose young diabetic women to develop a clinical or subclinical eating disorder. The coexistence of these conditions could lead to poor metabolic control and an increased risk of microvascular complications.