[Prevalence of Disturbed Eating Behavior in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes: Assessment and Comparison to Healthy Peers--Results of a Multicenter Questionnaire-based Study]

Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 2016 Mar;66(3-4):128-35. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-103324. Epub 2016 Apr 1.
[Article in German]


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult