Eating disorders and associated psychiatric comorbidity in elderly Canadian women

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2008 Dec;11(5-6):357-62. doi: 10.1007/s00737-008-0031-8. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


This study examined the prevalence of disordered eating symptomatology and their associations with socio-demographic characteristics and health indicators in a nationally representative sample of Canadian women aged 50 years and older. The study also examined associations of disordered eating symptomatology with comorbid mood disorders, anxiety disorders and alcohol dependence. The study was based on secondary data analysis of the Canadian Community Health Survey, cycle 1.2. About 2.6% of women 50-64 years old and 1.8% of women 65 years or older reported disordered eating symptomatology. These women exhibited elevated frequencies of dieting behaviors and preoccupation with food intake and body shape. Disordered eating symptomatology was positively associated with stress level and negatively associated with physical health. Similar to findings in younger women, risk of eating disorders was strongly associated with mood and anxiety disorders. Results indicate that the risk of having eating disorders is a lifelong concern. Hence, older women should be screened for symptoms of disordered eating and associated psychiatric comorbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Body Image
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / complications
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Factors