The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders among emergency department patients aged 14-20 years

Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Nov;45(7):883-90. doi: 10.1002/eat.22026. Epub 2012 May 8.


Objective: This study describes the rates of eating disorders in patients who present to the emergency department (ED) for any reason and examines the relationship between eating disorders, depression, and substance use in these patients.

Method: ED patients aged 14-20 years (n = 942) completed a computerized questionnaire. Analyses were conducted comparing individuals who screened positive for an eating disorder with those who did not based on demographics (gender, age, race, and public assistance), body mass index, substance use, and depression.

Results: Sixteen percent of patients screened positive for an eating disorder. These patients were more likely to also screen positive for depression and substance use. Males accounted for 26.6% of all eating disorders, and no difference was seen in rates across ethnic or income groups.

Discussion: Eating disorders are common amongst all patients aged 14-20 years presenting to the ED and are associated with high rates of psychiatric comorbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult