Measured physical activity in anorexia nervosa: features and treatment outcome

Int J Eat Disord. 2013 Nov;46(7):709-12. doi: 10.1002/eat.22140. Epub 2013 May 25.


Objective: To assess the role of measured physical activity (PA) in anorexia nervosa treatment outcome, and to compare the PA of patients with anorexia nervosa with age-matched controls.

Method: PA was assessed by means of Sense Wear Armband before and after a cognitive-behavioral inpatient treatment in 53 consecutive females with anorexia nervosa, and in 53 healthy age-matched controls.

Results: At baseline, patients with anorexia nervosa exhibited a higher duration of moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA≥3 Metabolic Equivalent Tasks (METs)) than controls (t = 2.91; p = .004). Dropouts had higher duration (sec) and expenditure (kcal·day(-1)) of MVPA than completers. At the end of treatment, completers had a higher number of daily steps, MVPA duration, and expenditure than controls. However, PA was not correlated to eating disorder psychopathology either before or after treatment.

Discussion: PA is higher in patients with anorexia nervosa than age-matched controls both before and after treatment, and is associated with treatment dropout.

Keywords: Sense Wear Armband; anorexia nervosa; dropout; eating disorders; inpatient treatment; physical activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Patient Dropouts*