Eating disorder symptoms and weight and shape concerns in a large web-based convenience sample of women ages 50 and above: results of the Gender and Body Image (GABI) study

Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Nov;45(7):832-44. doi: 10.1002/eat.22030. Epub 2012 Jun 21.


Objective: Limited research exists on eating disorder symptoms and attitudes and weight and shape concerns in women in midlife to older adulthood. We conducted an online survey to characterize these behaviors and concerns in women ages 50 and above.

Method: Participants (n = 1,849) were recruited via the Internet and convenience sampling.

Results: Eating disorder symptoms, dieting and body checking behaviors, and weight and shape concerns were widely endorsed. Younger age and higher body mass index (BMI) were associated with greater endorsement of eating disorder symptoms, behaviors, and concerns.

Discussion: Weight and shape concerns and disordered eating behaviors occur in women over 50 and vary by age and BMI. Focused research on disordered eating patterns in this age group is necessary to develop age-appropriate interventions and to meet the developmental needs of an important, growing, and underserved population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires