Effect of Hospitalization on Percent Median Body Mass Index at One Year, in Underweight Youth With Restrictive Eating Disorders

J Adolesc Health. 2017 Sep;61(3):310-316. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.03.020. Epub 2017 Jun 3.


Purpose: Data from low-weight patients with restrictive eating disorders (EDs) treated in outpatient adolescent medicine-based ED treatment programs were analyzed to determine whether there was an association between hospitalization and gain to at least 90% median body mass index (mBMI) at 1-year follow-up.

Methods: Data were retrospectively collected for 322 low-weight (<85% mBMI at intake) patients aged 9-21 years, who presented with restrictive EDs to 14 adolescent medicine-based ED programs in 2010. Positive outcome was defined as being at least 90% mBMI (%mBMI = patient's body mass index/mBMI for age × 100) at 1-year follow-up. Association between treatment at a higher level of care and gain to at least 90% mBMI was analyzed for 140 patients who were <85% mBMI at the time of presentation, had not been previously hospitalized, and had 1-year follow-up data available.

Results: For patients presenting at <85% mBMI, those who were hospitalized in the year following intake had 4.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.6-10.1) times the odds of gain to at least 90% mBMI, compared with patients who were not hospitalized, when controlling for baseline %mBMI.

Conclusion: In this national cohort of patients with restrictive EDs presenting to adolescent medicine-based ED programs at <85% mBMI, those who were hospitalized had greater odds of being at least 90% mBMI at 1-year follow-up.

Keywords: Adolescent; Anorexia Nervosa; Body mass index; Eating disorders; Hospitalization; Quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Psychiatry / methods
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thinness / therapy*
  • Time Factors