Objective: Prior research suggests that both body mass index (BMI) and weight suppression (highest past weight minus current weight; WS) are important in determining adult anorexia nervosa (AN) severity. We examined associations between amenorrhea and WS, DSM-5 BMI severity category, and highest premorbid BMI among patients with AN.
Method: Participants (N = 69) were adult female AN-spectrum patients at two residential treatment facilities. At admission, height, and weight were measured, and participants completed questionnaires assessing menstrual status and weight history.
Results: Greater WS, adjusted for BMI, was associated with menstrual function at admission. First amenorrhea onset occurred at a normal BMI for 38.5% of participants. Premorbid highest BMI positively correlated with BMI at amenorrhea onset, and higher BMI at amenorrhea onset was associated with higher BMI at menses resumption.
Discussion: These findings add to the literature indicating that relative and absolute weight status are dual indicators of illness severity in AN, and preliminarily suggest that a large proportion of adults who present for treatment initially may have shown symptoms of starvation at a normal BMI. Results underscore the need to focus on weight loss in early detection efforts and may inform target weight setting in the treatment of AN.
Keywords: amenorrhea; anorexia nervosa; menstrual status; weight history; weight suppression.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.