Chronic illness and disordered eating: a discussion of the literature

Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):277-86. doi: 10.3945/an.112.003608.


This paper describes the prevalence of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors, the reasons why these practices are endorsed, and the potential consequences in youths and young adults with selected diet-related chronic health conditions (DRCHCs) and provides recommendations for eating disorder prevention interventions and research efforts. Although it remains unclear whether the prevalence of eating disorders is higher in those with DRCHCs compared with the general population, overall findings suggest that young people with DRCHCs may be at risk of endorsing disordered eating behaviors that may lead to diagnosis of an eating disorder and other health problems over the course of their treatment. Thus, health care providers should be aware that young people with DRCHCs may be at risk of eating disorders and carefully monitor psychological changes and the use of unhealthy weight control methods. It is also important to develop and evaluate theory-based interventions and disease-specific eating disorder risk screening tools that are effective in halting the progression of eating disorders and negative health outcomes in young people with chronic health conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Research
  • Risk Factors