Inpatients with eating disorders: demographic, diagnostic, and service characteristics from a nationwide pediatric sample

Int J Eat Disord. 2007 Nov;40(7):622-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.20411.


Objective: This study describes the demographic and clinical characteristics of youth hospitalized with an eating disorder, using the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) database.

Method: Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to examine and compare PHIS inpatients (N = 1,713) with a primary discharge diagnosis of anorexia, bulimia, or eating disorder, not otherwise specified.

Results: Of pediatric inpatients with eating disorders, 92% were female and 78% were non-Hispanic white. Their mean age was 15.3 years; 71% had anorexia; 68% had one or more comorbid psychiatric disorders; 53% stayed on a psychiatric unit; the mean length of stay was 15.7 days. Private insurance paid for 55% of hospital stays. Patients without private insurance were more likely than patients with private insurance to be Black or Hispanic and to have comorbid psychiatric diagnoses.

Conclusion: This study provides new information that can be used by hospitals to anticipate developmental and treatment needs of future inpatients with eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Comorbidity
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology