Introduction: Published data on prevalence of disturbed eating behavior in youth with type 1 diabetes are heterogeneous. This study assesses the prevalence rate of disturbed eating behavior in a representative German sample of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The prevalence rate is compared to the one published for a national sample of healthy peers. Furthermore prospects as well as limits of a generic screening tool used to identify disturbed eating behavior are compared to those of a diabetes specific screening tool.
Material and methods: A total of 246 children and adolescents (age: 11-19 years) with type 1 diabetes, from 6 pediatric diabetes centers in Germany, completed the generic SCOFF questionnaire and the diabetes specific Diabetes Eating Problem Survey-Revised (DEPS-R) to assess their eating behavior. Prevalence data were compared to representative data from a nationwide survey in Germany (KiGGS-study).
Results: A total of 16.3% of the children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes scored above the SCOFF cut-off (≥ 2) (24.2% of the girls and 8.9% of the boys). The percentages in the healthy controls were 28.9% for girls and 15.2% for boys. Compared to this the prevalence of disturbed eating behavior was lower in the diabetes group (p=0.017 and p<0.001). According to the diabetes specific DEPS-R 11.2% of the boys and 13.2% of the girls with type 1 diabetes practiced insulin-purging. The association between SCOFF-scores and the items referring to insulin-purging in DEPS-R, was stronger for girls than for boys (r=0.437 vs. r=0.144). Among the young people with type 1 diabetes DEPS-R-scores showed stronger associations to the quality of metabolic control (HbA1c) than the SCOFF (boys: r=0.357 vs. r=0.217 and girls: r=0.368 vs. r=0.131).
Discussion: Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes are not more frequently affected by disturbed eating behavior than their healthy peers. Particularly boys with type 1 diabetes practicing insulin-purging, are not reliably detected by a generic screening tool.
Conclusion: As part of long-term care a diabetes specific screening tool should be used to identify adolescents with type 1 diabetes and disturbed eating behavior more reliably.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.