Puberty is a critical risk period for eating disorders (EDs). ED incidence increases across the pubertal period and becomes female predominant, and genetic influences on disordered eating significantly increase. Surges of ovarian hormones, particularly estrogen, may drive this increasing genetic effect for EDs in pubertal girls and contribute to differential phenotypic presentations beyond puberty. In this article, we explain phenotypic associations between puberty and disordered eating and present evidence showing underlying genetic and hormonal influence. Potential benefits of communicating roles of genetic influence to people with or at risk for EDs are also discussed.
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Binge eating; Binge eating disorder; Bulimia nervosa; Eating disorders; Estrogen; Progesterone; Puberty.
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